Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Council 'tracking down' Megrahi

The Scottish council responsible for monitoring the Lockerbie bomber following his release to Libya has stepped up its bid to contact him

The leader of the authority charged with keeping track of the Lockerbie bomber says his officials are in "uncharted" territory and do not know what to do if contact is lost.

Efforts are being stepped up to reach Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, where intense fighting is raging between rebels and those defending the Gaddafi regime.

Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, was released from Greenock jail in Scotland on compassionate grounds in August 2009 but has outlived his three-month prognosis.

The former Libyan intelligence agent is supposed to keep in regular contact with officials at East Renfrewshire Council, the area in which his family had a home during his imprisonment.

Any infringement of the condition could, on paper, lead to Megrahi being returned to jail.

Council leader Jim Fletcher said his officers have spoken to him recently and are satisfied he is alive and staying at his home address.

But he added: "We're trying to track him down at the moment. Our duty is to make sure he's in Libya. We're monitoring his whereabouts.

"We are in uncharted waters. If we can't track him, I don't know what we would do. We'd need to take advice from the Scottish Government."

The Scottish Government said it has not been informed of any breach of the release conditions and declined to comment on speculation surrounding Megrahi.

A spokesman said: "East Renfrewshire Council, as the supervising local authority, is responsible for monitoring al-Megrahi's adherence to the conditions of his release licence."

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