21 May 2012

Lockerbie bomber dead

9:20 am on 21 May 2012

The former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the Lockerbie bombing above Scotland in December 1988, has died.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, 60, died at his home in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, of cancer.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001, after a trial held in the Netherlands under Scottish law.

He was released from prison in Scotland in 2009 on compassionate grounds, because he had advanced cancer and was said to have only months to live.

He was the only person ever convicted over the bombing of of Pan Am Flight 103, in which 270 people died, 189 of whom were from the United States. Eleven of the dead were on the ground.

Megrahi always denied any responsibility for the bombing in December 1988.

He and another Libyan, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, were indicted by Scottish and US courts in November 1991.

But Libya refused to extradite them. In 1999, after protracted negotiations, Libya handed the two men over for trial, under Scottish law but on neutral ground, the former US airbase at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

Their trial began in May 2000. Fhimah was acquitted of all charges, but Megrahi was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison.

British prime minister David Cameron says Megrahi should never have been freed.