Lockerbie bomber health deteriorating, says family

Last Updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012 - 18:45

Tripoli: The former Libyan intelligence
officer convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing was
taken to hospital today for a blood transfusion with his
health deteriorating, his family says.

The son of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, Khaled, said his
father was carried to Tripoli Medical Centre for the second
time in two days.

"My dad`s health is very bad and has been worsening,"
Khaled told The Associated Press at the family house in
Tripoli. "He is on his last breath," he added.

Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted for the bombing
over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. He was
released from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds in
2009, eight years into a life sentence. Doctors then predicted
that he would die of prostate cancer within three months.

His release infuriated victims` families and their anger
grew when he was given a hero`s reception in Libya and then
lived long past the predictions of the doctors.

Over the past three years, his family has on several
occasions said that al-Megrahi is near death, in what was seen
as an attempt to justify his release.

"I don`t think he can make it this time," his son said
today.

Since his return to Libya, al-Megrahi rarely appeared in
public. Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi`s fall last year
spurred calls in the United States and Europe to return him to
prison. Two New York senators asked the former rebels to hold
al-Megrahi fully accountable for the bombing.

At that time, Libya`s rebel leaders, who were scrambling
to replace Gaddafi`s regime with a government of their own,
said they would not deport al-Megrahi or any other Libyan.

They then softened their stance, saying that only the
future elected government could deal with such issues.

The Lockerbie saga began when a bomb packed into a
suitcase exploded inside Pan Am Flight 103 as it flew over
Scotland. Among the victims were many American college
students flying home for Christmas.

The bombing, which scattered flaming wreckage onto the
small town of Lockerbie and killed 11 people on the ground,
became one of the most vivid scenes of terrorism of that era,
and helped ensure that Libya remained an international pariah
state.

Little is known about al-Megrahi. At his trial, he was
described as the "airport security" chief for Libyan
intelligence, and witnesses reported him negotiating deals to
buy equipment for Libya`s secret service and military.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012 - 13:11

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