Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Scottish court lets Libyan drop Lockerbie appeal
Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:12am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By Ian Mackenzie
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - In a move that could speed his release, Scotland's high court agreed that a Libyan jailed for the 1988 bombing of a plane over Lockerbie can drop his appeal against conviction.
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, 57, was convicted in 2001 of plotting the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which killed all 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground. He was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years, a term he is serving in a Scottish prison where he receives frequent visits from his wife and children.
Lord Arthur Hamilton, Scotland's most senior judge, said he had accepted Megrahi's request to withdraw his appeal but said there were other legal hurdles to be negotiated before the appeal process could be ended.
The court is expected to meet again in three weeks' time to finalize the process, which depends on Scotland's judicial authorities dropping their own appeal against Megrahi's original sentence, which they saw as too lenient.
The former Libyan intelligence agent is suffering from terminal prostate cancer and has made a request to be released on compassionate grounds. His lawyers emphasized that argument on Tuesday, saying he was desperate to return home to die.
"He has progressive prostate cancer and this has now reached the terminal stage," lawyer Margaret Scott said.
"He is suffering severe pain and he is in great distress."
Britain and Libya have signed a prisoner transfer agreement that could allow Megrahi to be sent back to Libya to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
Scotland's justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, is in the process of trying to decide what course of action to take -- release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, send him back to Libya under the transfer agreement or leave him in prison.
Tuesday's court decision opens the way for Megrahi to be sent home, although if it is via the prisoner transfer agreement that can only happen once all appeals processes are terminated, which is likely to take a few weeks' more.
MacAskill has said he will make a decision on Megrahi's fate by the end of next week. Most expectations are that he will be granted compassionate release, a move that is likely to anger the families of victims of the bombing.
The United States opposes Megrahi's release, saying he should serve out his sentence in Scotland, even if he is to die. The Lockerbie bombing killed 189 Americans.
A group of U.S. senators has written to MacAskill calling on him not to let Megrahi go, adding their voices to a chorus of disapproval that includes that of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the families of the American victims.
If Megrahi is released on compassionate grounds, he is likely to be warmly welcomed by Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi, who has gained Western acceptance since dropping his nuclear weapons program in 2003. Continued...
View article on single page
Special Coverage: Afghanistan and Pakistan
Road to the election
The outcome of the presidential vote in Afghanistan on Thursday hangs on the clout of old warlords and the threat of violence. Full Article | Full Coverage
Possible outcomes of Afghan election
More International News
Suicide car bomb strikes Kabul in pre-vote violence
South Korea rocket launch bound to rile the North
Mousavi says government agents raped detainees
Russia arrests eight over piracy on mystery ship
Netanyahu limits new projects in settlements
More International News...
TIMELINE: Key dates in Lockerbie bombing case
Featured Broker sponsored link
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Building block of life found on comet
UPDATE 1-Mexican drug smugglers tied to California fire
Chavez says Obama "lost in space" on Latin America
Hurricane Bill builds in Atlantic, path uncertain
Reader's Digest plans prearranged bankruptcy
Three indicted in largest U.S. identity theft scheme
Liberal Democrats fight U.S. healthcare shift
Expansive China faces grass-roots resentment
South Korea rocket launch bound to rile the North
Fox News' "Glenn Beck" loses advertisers
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
Pilot killed in Russian jet crash
Jesse Jackson crowned prince
Russia dam accident, dozens missing
Obama asks for patience
Wildfires rage in California
Suicide bomber attacks Ingushetia
N Korea reopens border with South
Wall St. insiders dump stocks
Dozens die in Kuwait wedding fire
Bolivia crash on 'Highway of death'
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
Where were you when the Wall came down?
Did you live under the communist regime of East Germany? Sneak across the border to escape to West Berlin? Celebrate the fall of the wall in 1989? Send us your images. Blog
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Journalism Handbook |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.