Edinburgh: A Libyan man convicted of murdering 270 people by blowing up a passenger jet could live for several more years, a leading cancer specialist said on Friday, two years after the terminally ill bomber was freed on compassionate grounds because he was close to death.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish jail and flown back to Libya on August 20, 2009 after prison doctors estimated he had only three months to live.
His survival has made him a propaganda asset for embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and an embarrassment for British authorities, who are facing calls to return al-Megrahi to prison if Gaddafi`s regime falls.
Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of killing 270 people,
most of them American, when New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103
exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21,
Scottish authorities have come under attack from around
the world for the decision to release him on compassionate
grounds after he had served eight years of a 27-year sentence.
At the time, medical experts advising the Scottish prison
service said he was close to death.
But Prof Roger Kirby, a London prostate cancer specialist,
said 59-year-old al-Megrahi is likely taking a cutting-edge
hormone treatment and "could live much longer, for several
more years because of this drug."
Kirby, a consultant urologist at the Prostate Cancer
Center in London, said doctors in Scotland would have been
unaware of the new hormone-based therapy abiraterone, which
was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration
and is still not available in Europe.