News / Middle East

Libyan Rebels Will Not Extradite Lockerbie Bomber

Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing but released from his Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, is seen below a portrait of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, September 9, 2009 (file photo)
Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing but released from his Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, is seen below a portrait of Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi, September 9, 2009 (file photo)

Libya's rebel government said Sunday it will not extradite the Libyan man convicted in the 1988 bombing of a U.S.-bound jetliner which killed 270 people when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Mohammed al-Alagi, the Transitional National Council's justice minister, told reporters in Tripoli that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi already has been tried and convicted in Scotland for bombing Pan Am flight 103. He said the rebels will not hand over Libyan citizens as former leader Moammar Gadhafi did.

Later Sunday, CNN television reported that al-Megrahi had been found in Tripoli and appeared "near death."

Nic Robertson, a correspondent for the network, said he found al-Megrahi at a spacious villa in the Libyan capital guarded by at least six security cameras and attended to by relatives.

CNN footage showed al-Megrahi apparently laying unconscious in a bed. His family said he is being kept alive with oxygen and a fluid drip, that he has stopped eating and occasionally lapses into a coma.

Scottish authorities freed al-Megrahi in 2009 on compassionate grounds. Doctors said he had terminal cancer and only months to live. He had served eight years of a minimum 27-year prison sentence.

The decision to release al-Megrahi outraged the families of the Lockerbie bombing victims, many of whom were from the U.S. The fall of the Gadhafi government has sparked hopes that Libya's new leaders would be willing to extradite the convicted Lockerbie bomber.

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