Libyan minister closes Lockerbie bomber case

CNN found Abdelbesset al-Megrahi in the care of his family in a Tripoli villa, surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip.

Story highlights

  • Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
  • All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed
  • Scotland's justice minister granted al Megrahi an early release in August 2009
  • Politicians have called for al Megrahi to be sent back to prison

The case of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbesset al Megrahi is "closed," Libya's transitional justice minister told reporters.

"The entire world knows that Abdelbesset al Megrahi was tried in the Lockerbie case and he was convicted and then his case was appealed and he was convicted again," Mohammed al-Alagi told reporters Monday. "Then the Scottish authorities and the British government decided later to release him for humanitarian reasons.

"As Libyan justice minister, I believe this case is closed and a man can't be tried twice for the same alleged crime," al-Alagi said.

Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed when the Boeing 747, bound for New York from London, crashed in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Scotland's justice minister granted al Megrahi an early release in August 2009 after his attorneys and Scottish authorities said he was dying of cancer and only had three months to live.

He received a hero's welcome in Tripoli, enraging many in the United States and Britain. And with the recent overthrow of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for al Megrahi to be sent back to prison.

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"They have assured us that they understand the sensitivities surrounding this case and they will give the matter the consideration it richly deserves," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters after a meeting with Libya's transitional leaders in early September.

Jamal Ben Noor, a senior official with Libya's Justice and Human Rights Ministry, said Tuesday the government has not received any official request from Scottish authorities regarding the case. But he said Libya will cooperate if such a request is received from the Scottish or British government to reveal documents or provide access to individuals.

Late last month, CNN's Nic Robertson found al Megrahi under the care of his family in his palatial Tripoli villa. He was bedridden, comatose, and surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip.

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