World News - Lockerbie bomber found 'in coma'
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    World News - Lockerbie bomber found 'in coma'

    28 August 2011 Last updated at 20:58 ET Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is in a coma at his Tripoli home in Libya, it is being reported.

    CNN said Megrahi appeared to be "at death's door" in the care of family. He is technically on licence but his whereabouts had been unknown.

    Megrahi was freed from a Scottish prison in 2009 on health grounds. There have been calls for him to be returned to jail in the UK or tried in the US.

    But Libyan rebel leaders have said they do not intend to allow his extradition.

    'Surviving on oxygen' Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had been jailed in 2001 for the bombing of a US plane over Lockerbie, with the loss of 270 lives, before he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and freed.

    Scottish officials had tried to contact him following the rebel advance into Tripoli.

    Continue reading the main story “Start Quote

    He served roughly two weeks in prison for every person he killed. Two weeks per murder. That is not nearly enough”
    End Quote John Bolton Former US ambassador to the UN
    Megrahi technically remains a Scottish prisoner released on licence and is obliged to remain in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council.

    On Friday, the Scottish government said he had not been due to contact them for some time yet but social workers from East Renfrewshire Council had been endeavouring to contact him.

    'Unhelpful speculation' After reports Megrahi had been found, the government and council issued a statement saying they had been in contact with his family over the weekend and his licence had not been breached.

    "Speculation about al-Megrahi in recent days has been unhelpful, unnecessary and indeed ill-informed," they said.

    "As has always been said, al-Megrahi is dying of a terminal disease, and matters regarding his medical condition should really be left there," they said.

    "Any change in al-Megrahi's circumstances would be a matter for discussion with the National Transitional Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya."

    A neighbour in Tripoli had earlier said he was whisked away by security guards last week as Gaddafi's forces crumbled.

    CNN reported on Sunday that Megrahi was "comatose" and "near death... surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip" and not eating.

    "We just give him oxygen, nobody gives us any advice," Megrahi's son, Khaled, told the US broadcaster.

    "There is no doctor. There is nobody to ask. We don't have any phone line to call anybody."

    CNN reporter Nic Robertson said he last saw Megrahi two years ago and described his appearance as "much iller, much sicker, his face is sunken... just a shell of the man he was".

    Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.

    'Do the maths' The victims of the bombing were mainly US nationals and the decision to release him, taken by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, sparked an angry reaction in the United States.

    The former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told BBC Radio 5 live Megrahi should have been given the death penalty and was lucky to be alive.

    Mr Bolton said Megrahi should be in jail and called for him to extradited.

    "To me it will a signal of how serious the rebel government is for good relations with the United States and the West if they hand over Megrahi for trial," he said.

    "He killed 270 people. He served roughly 10 years in jail before he was released by British authorities. Do the maths - that means he served roughly two weeks in prison for every person he killed. Two weeks per murder. That is not nearly enough."

    Stephanie Bernstein's husband Michael was one of those killed. She told BBC Radio 5 live Megrahi's death would bring some regret to the victims' families.

    "He was one person in a long line of people who I'm sure was responsible for the bombing and when he dies, some of the knowledge about what happened will go with him," she said.

    Mrs Bernstein said she hoped the rebels' National Transitional Council would be committed to finding out what happened.

    'Already judged once' Mohammed al-Alagi, justice minister for the new leadership in Tripoli, earlier refused to countenance handing Megrahi over.

    "We will not hand over any Libyan citizen to the West," he said.

    "And from points A, B and C of justice, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has already been judged once, and will not be judged again.

    "We will not hand over any Libyan nationals, it's Gaddafi who hands over Libyan nationals."

    Hopes had also been raised in the case of the killing of PC Yvonne Fletcher, after a suspect was recently identified.

    PC Fletcher was shot while policing a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

    But the Sunday Times reported that senior Libyan officials would not hand anyone over.

    Leader 'pledge' Hassan al-Sagheer, a member of Libya's National Transitional Council, was quoted by the paper as saying: "Libya has never extradited or handed over its citizens to a foreign country. We shall continue with this principle."

    It came as William Hague said the rebels had pledged to "co-operate fully" with the British authorities.

    Mr Hague told the BBC: "This is an ongoing police investigation so it's quite difficult for me to comment on.

    "But I would say that when... [Mustafa Abdul] Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council, was with us in London in May, he committed himself and the council to co-operate fully with the British government on these matters."

    He added: "I wouldn't take what has been written in the press today as the last word on the matter."

    The National Transitional Council is now recognised by Britain as the sole governmental authority for Libya.





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