Lockerbie bomber to be freed from Scottish jail
London, August 13, 2009
A former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is to be released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, Britain's Sky News has reported.
Abdel Basset al Megrahi, who is 57 and has terminal prostate cancer, was sentenced to life in prison for blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie as it flew from London to New York on December 18, 1988.
The bomb killed all 259 people on board, including 189 Americans, and 11 people on the ground.
Libya has repeatedly lobbied for Al Megrahi's release -- most recently at a meeting in Italy between Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last month.
Libyan authorities made an application in July on behalf of Al Megrahi asking for him to be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return home.Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill met Al Megrahi to discuss the application last week in Greenock prison where he is being held.
A spokesman for Brown would not confirm or deny the Sky report and said Al Megrahi's case was a matter for the Scottish government since he was convicted under Scottish law.
Scottish government officials were not immediately available.
Four years after Al Megrahi's conviction, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing and agreed to pay about $2.7 billion in compensation to the victims' families -- a move that helped clear the way for the lifting of sanctions and the restoration of Libya's ties with Western states. – Reuters