Lockerbie bomber out of hospital

Mon, Apr 16, 2012, 01:00

The Libyan former intelligence officer convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing that killed 270 people was released from a Tripoli hospital today after a receiving an emergency blood transfusion, his brother said.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was taken to a private hospital on Friday to receive a transfusion of eleven litres of blood, but subsequently felt strong enough to return home, his brother Abdel Hakim told Reuters.

"His health is going from bad to worse, but he felt ready to go and his family took him home," Abdel Hakim said.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 as it flew to New York from London. All 259 people aboard the airliner were killed and 11 others on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie died from falling wreckage.

Britain freed him in 2009 on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from advanced terminal prostate cancer and thought to have months to live.

His release angered many relatives of the victims, 189 of whom were American, and the Obama administration criticised the decision. A number of US politicians have pressed for his extradition to the United States, something Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said it would not do.

Megrahi, who served as an intelligence agent during the rule of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadafy, denied any role in suspected human rights abuses in his home country before Gadafy's fall and death in a popular uprising last year.