Court refuses to free Lockerbie bomber due to cancer
AFP - 55 minutes ago
LONDON (AFP) - - A Scottish court on Friday refused to release the Libyan man jailed over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, rejecting his appeal to be freed on bail because he has terminal cancer.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al-Megrahi, jailed in 2001 over the bombing which killed 270 people, does not have long to live and should be released on compassionate grounds, his lawyers say.
But the Appeal Court in Edinburgh refused the application, saying that he could receive medical treatment in prison, a lawyer said.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing and who became a spokesman for the Lockerbie victims' families in the years following the tragedy, had backed the Libyan's release.
Reacting within minutes of the ruling, he lamented the court's decision. "It has never been a goal of our group to seek revenge," he said in a statement read by a lawyer outside the court.
"The refusal of a return to his family for a dying man whose verdict is not even yet secure looks uncomfortably like either an aspect of revenge -- or perhaps timidity," Swire said.
The 56-year-old former Libyan intelligence officer is serving life with a minimum term of 27 years in a Scottish prison for blowing up Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York on the night of December 21, 1988.
He is seeking to have his conviction overturned -- an appeal is due to be heard next year -- but his lawyers announced last month that Al-Megrahi has advanced prostate cancer which has spread to other parts of his body.
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The cockpit of the Pan Am passenger plane that exploded over Lockerbie in 1988. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al-Megrahi -- the Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the bombing that killed 270 people -- has been refused bail. The Scottish Appeal Court has refused bail for Al-Megrahi who has "advanced stage" prostate cancer.
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