- Nov 17, 2010
The Libyan former intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is in a coma and close to death, according to reports Thursday. Britain controversially released Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi on Aug. 20, 2009, sparking jubilation in Libya but roiling relations between London and Washington. The U.K. government said it freed the 58-year-old on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer.Relatives told Britain's Sky News that al-Megrahi has been in a coma for about a week."He is on life support and has been for some days. Many people have been waiting for him to die," a source close to his family told the broadcaster. "That day is coming very soon. Every day, his loved ones expect it to be his last." Britain's Daily Telegraph quoted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as saying al-Megrahi's health has "deteriorated badly." Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said it appeared unlikely that the bomber would be alive to see the Dec. 21 anniversary of the 1988 attack on Pan Am Flight 103. The release of al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing, fueled anger in the U.S. as 189 of the 270 victims were American.A cache of cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli describing the run-up to the decision to free al-Megrahi was released Wednesday by WikiLeaks .The documents indicate that the British government feared a furious Libyan reaction if al-Megrahi wasn't set free and expressed relief when they learned that he would be released on compassionate grounds. Critics of the decision on both sides of the Atlantic have alleged that British officials were motivated by commercial interests including those of energy company BP PLC when they moved to free al-Megrahi. While officials here have always stressed that al-Megrahi was released because of his terminal cancer, the cables show the Brits were keenly aware that they faced a hugely damaging backlash if they didn't do as the Libyans wanted. je hii ni assasination plan nyingine?