Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is dead


Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam (R) holds hands with freed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the sole Libyan convicted over the 1988 Pan Am jetliner bombing, aboard the Libyan presidential plane that brought him back home in Tripoli late on August 20, 2009.


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Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing above Scotland in which 270 people were killed, has died at his home in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

His brother, Abdelhakim, told the Agence France Presse that al-Megrahi, 60, who suffered from advanced terminal prostate cancer and was briefly hospitalized last month for blood transfusions, died shortly after 13.00 (06.00 EST) on Sunday.

Megrahi was convicted by a special court in the Netherlands in 2001 of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 as it flew from London to New York. All 259 people on board were killed and 11 others in the Scottish town of Lockerbie died from falling wreckage.

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A Libyan intelligence officer and former security chief for Libyan Arab Airlines, he always denied any responsibility for the attack, and in 2009 – eight years into a 27-year prison sentence – was released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds after doctors told him he had only months to live, the Associated Press reports.

Shortly before being freed, he dropped his second appeal against his conviction, and received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Col Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, according to the BBC.

The authorities in Tripoli subsequently sealed him off from public access, and he remained in his family villa in an affluent neighborhood in the capital.

Megrahi’s release angered many relatives of the Lockerbie bombing victims, 189 of whom were American, Reuters reports. A number of US politicians had pressed for his extradition to the US, but Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council refused, according to CNN.

However, other relatives believe he was not guilty of the attack and was simply a scapegoat. Jim Swire, who lost his daughter at Lockerbie and is a member of the Justice for Megrahi group, told the BBC that Megrahi’s death was “a very sad event.”  

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