26 Jul 2009

Libya asks for Lockerbie bomber to be freed

3:12 pm on 26 July 2009

Libya has formally asked Scotland for the compassionate release of the man jailed for the Lockerbie bombing in 198.

Libyan authorities made the application on behalf of Abdel Basset al Megrahi, 57, who was sentenced to life for blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the town of Lockerbie.

All 259 people on board the London to New York flight were killed, along with 11 people on the ground.

Megrahi, 57, has terminal prostate cancer. He has previously been denied bail to go home, requested on humanitarian grounds.

Scotland has a separate legal system from the rest of Britain. Megrahi was convicted in 2001 in a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. He is being held in Greenock prison in Scotland.

Four years afterwards, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing and agreed to pay about $US2.7 billion in compensation to the victims' families.

The move helped clear the way for the lifting of sanctions and the restoration of Libya's ties with Western states.