Images of Lockerbie bomber show him close to death

Tue, Aug 30, 2011, 01:00

THE CAMPAIGN for the extradition of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of blowing up Pan AM Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, has in effect ended after footage emerged showing him apparently close to death.

Calls for his rearrest from US senators, lawyers and relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims appeared redundant given Megrahi’s abject condition in images recorded at his mother’s house in Tripoli.

The Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, said the Scottish government “never had any intention” of asking for Megrahi to be returned to jail. Andrew Mitchell, the UK development secretary, said the question was now “academic” after CNN broadcast footage showing Megrahi lying in bed unconscious and apparently “at death’s door”.

Megrahi’s son Khaled and brother Abdul Nasser al-Megrahi said at the family home that Megrahi was now comatose and close to death. The family said he had been without proper medical attention for several days, claiming his medication had been looted from pharmacists during the rebel advance into Tripoli.

“There is no doctor. There is nobody to ask. We don’t have any phone line to call anybody,” Khaled al-Megrahi said.

Mr Salmond said recent speculation about Megrahi’s disappearance had been “completely inaccurate”.

“The only people who have any authority in this matter are the Scottish government, who have jurisdiction in this matter, and the new Libyan transitional council, who are the new duly constituted legal authority in Libya. We have never had and don’t have any intention of asking for the extradition of Mr Megrahi. It’s quite clear from the Libyan transitional council that following their own laws they had never any intention of agreeing to such extradition.”

Yesterday the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council said the Megrahi case was not a priority. Justice minister Mohammed al-Alagi, said: “We have very many important issues now. We realise this [the Megrahi case] is very important to some of our western allies. But the most crucial thing now is to secure our country. The second thing is to stabilise Libya so that it can function. After that we can look at related issues between us and other governments.”

Dr Jim Swire, the Lockerbie campaigner whose daughter Flora died in the attack, said Megrahi ought to be allowed to die with dignity. “I feel in view of all he has been through that he should have been accorded a peaceful end in Tripoli with his family. The idea of extraditing him is a monstrous one. This is a man who withdrew his appeal so he could be allowed to die close to his family and he deserves to be left in peace for his last days.” – (Guardian service)