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Lockerbie Bomber Hospitalized in Libya


Libyan officials say the convicted Lockerbie bomber has been hospitalized in Tripoli.

They gave no other details on Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's condition.

Last month, Scotland released Megrahi on compassionate grounds after he served eight years of a life sentence, saying he was near death from cancer. The decision prompted anger from families of the Lockerbie bombing victims.

Scottish lawmakers voted Wednesday to reject the government's decision to release Megrahi. The government asked parliament to endorse the decision to free the bomber. But lawmakers, in a largely symbolic poll, voted 73 to 50 against the action.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says his government did not pressure Scotland to release the bomber to improve Britain's trade links with Libya, despite reports that he wanted the bomber freed.

Mr. Brown said Wednesday that he told Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that the decision was Scotland's alone.

But newly-released documents show that Mr. Brown did not want the convicted Lockerbie bomber to die in prison, arguing it would have a catastrophic effect on British-Libyan relations.

Notes taken during a meeting between British official Bill Rammell and Libya's minister for Europe, Abdulati Alobidi, show Rammell telling the Libyans that neither Mr. Brown nor former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw wanted the bomber to die in prison.

The documents also show that Straw decided to include Megrahi in a prisoner transfer deal to help improve ties with Libya. Straw originally excluded the bomber from the deal.

Megrahi is the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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