UK dismiss report on Lockerbie bomber

UK has dismissed a report that said the man convicted of 1988 Lockerbie bombing was close to death.

Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 09:37 AM IST

London: British authorities have dismissed a report that said the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing - and controversially freed from jail in Britain in 2009 - was close to death.

Britain`s Sky News reported Thursday that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, was on a life support machine and that his family expected him to die within days.

The former Libyan secret agent was controversially freed from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2009, when officials said, at the time, that he had just three months to live.

But the East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland, which was responsible for monitoring al-Megrahi, dismissed the report.

"We continue to be in contact with Mr Megrahi regularly and whenever we need to be for the purposes of supervision. Today`s media speculation regarding Mr Megrahi is just that, and rumours are unfounded," said a spokeswoman.

Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in jail in 2001 after his conviction for the death of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, in Scotland, in 1988.

He has always denied responsibility. But his release caused deep diplomatic tensions between Britain and the US, given that 189 of the victims were US citizens.