Libyan convicted over Lockerbie bombing dead
Published Sunday, May 20, 2012
The alleged former Libyan intelligence officer convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing has died, his family have said.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people, died at home over the weekend after a long battle with cancer, his brother Abdulhakim told Reuters.
Al-Megrahi's family warned last month that he was likely to die in the coming weeks, with his son saying he was on "his last breath."
Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison in Scotland in 2001, but campaigners including families of the victims have long argued he suffered from a miscarriage of justice.
He was released on compassionate leave in 2009 as his health deteriorated, with doctors predicting that he would die of prostate cancer within three months.
Critics charged that his release was politically motivated, coming shortly after relations between Britain and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime improved.
However the families of some of the victims have questioned his original sentence, suggesting the evidence was not strong enough and that he could have been framed.
Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora died in the killings, said the death was a "sad day" as al-Megrahi was innocent.
"This man was nothing to do with the murder of my daughter and I clench my teeth every time I hear newscasters say the Lockerbie bomber has died. He is (just) the man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing," he told the BBC.
He added that he hoped the death would lead to fresh impetus in the campaign to uncover the real killers.