Lockerbie Bomber Is Dying–Again–Plus WikiLeaks Tie
posted at 1:08 pm on December 9, 2010 by Howard Portnoy
Abdul Baset al Megrahi, better known to the civilized world as the Lockerbie bomber, is preparing to meet his maker—this time for real, a source close to the convicted terrorist’s family has told Sky News. FOX News quotes the source as saying:
He is on life support and has been for some days. Many people have been waiting for him to die. That day is coming very soon. Every day, his loved ones expect it to be his last.
Al Megrahi made headlines twice. The first time was in 1991, when he was convicted in a Scottish court of murdering 259 innocent civilians aboard Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. The second was in 2009, when Scottish authorities commuted his 27-year sentence on compassionate grounds. It was reported that al Megrahi, who had developed prostate cancer in prison, was at death’s door and would be permitted to spend his final days with his family in Libya.
Surviving victims of his crime, which included family members of those who had blown out of the sky over Scotland, were outraged by the decision—even more so when al Megrahi was accorded a hero’s welcome when he stepped off the plane in Tripoli.
That anger intensified when three months, the time he supposedly had remaining, came and went while al Megrahi’s health seemed, if anything, to be improving.
And now there is a new wrinkle. Among the diplomatic cables released as part of WikiLeaks’ most recent document dump are several suggesting that Libya had threatened “harsh and immediate” action against the British government if al Megrahi were not released to die peacefully at home—a privilege his victims never enjoyed.
The threats, by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, are described by U.S. officials as “thuggish” and included harassment of embassy staff and cutting off trade ties.