Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France sending military unit to located Algerian plane crash site

    Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Europe

Lockerbie bomber 'to be released'

Video by Luke BROWN

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-21

An ailing former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is to be released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds, according to British media reports. Scottish officials said a decision is to be made later this month.

REUTERS - The Scottish government is poised to decide whether to allow the former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to be released from prison and return home, a spokesman said on Wednesday.


An American lawyer who worked on the defence team of Abdel Basset al Megrahi said the Libyan, who is 57 and has terminal prostate cancer, was to be released imminently on compassionate grounds.


A Libyan official in Tripoli said an agreement was "in the last steps" but added that a deal had also been struck that neither side would make any official announcement about Megrahi's release until he was on home soil.


Al Megrahi was convicted under Scottish law and 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 Dec. 18, 1988. The bomb killed all 259 people on board, including 189 Americans, and 11 people on the ground.


Frank Rubino, an American lawyer who previously worked on Megrahi's legal team, told Britain's Sky television that he had been told by al Megrahi's current defence team the Libyan would be allowed to go home soon.


"I am told that it will be in the very near future," he said.


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 in July.


British defence contractors are expected to benefit from any warming of relations between the two countries and al Megrahi's release would be the latest milestone on Libya's journey from pariah state to a country restored to the international fold.


Libyan authorities made an application in July on behalf of al Megrahi, asking or 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 was being held.

 

"LAST STEPS"


"The deal is now already in the last steps," the Libyan official, who did not want to be identified, said in Tripoli. "We have an agreement between the two sides not to make any statement until he (al Megrahi) comes home."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said "no decision has been made". MacAskill was "still considering all the representations ... and hopes to make a decision this month", she added.


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.


A decision to release al Megrahi is will anger many of the rletive of those who died.


American Kathleen Flynn, whose 21-year-old son John Patrick Flynn died in the bombing, said it was "crazy" for al Megrahi to be released from jail, noting that her husband had prostate cancer 10 years ago and he is "still alive and kicking".


"There is absolutely no reason that someone who murdered 270 people should be released on compassionate grounds," said Flynn, of Montville, New Jersey.


Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the bombing told BBC television relative had not seen justice done. She said she had been "baffled" by much of the evidence in Megrahi's trial and said, "There has been a lack of justice for the 270 people who died on and below Flight 103."

Date created : 2009-08-13

COMMENT(S)