Bomber health claims 'unfounded'
Claims that the Lockerbie bomber is close to death are "unfounded", the local authority charged with monitoring him has insisted.
East Renfrewshire Council was responding to reports that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi had suffered a rapid deterioration in his health.
Terminally ill Megrahi was controversially granted compassionate release from a Scottish jail nearly 16 months ago.
It was reported on Thursday that he was on a life-support machine in Libya and his family expect him to die within days. The reports said he had not been able to speak for some weeks and is now in a coma.
But a spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council, whose criminal justice social work staff are charged with monitoring Megrahi, said: "Media speculation regarding Mr Megrahi is just that, and rumours are unfounded.
"We continue to be in contact with Mr Megrahi regularly and whenever we need to be for the purposes of supervision."
Megrahi was sentenced to life in jail after his conviction for the murder of 270 people in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland.
The decision to free him, taken by Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, sparked fury in the US and was condemned by President Barack Obama's administration.
Last week Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi said Megrahi's family would be suing over his "neglect" in Greenock Prison.
Speaking to students in London via a video link, he said: "His health was not looked after in prison. He didn't have any periodic examination. I wish him a long life. After he passes away, his family will demand compensation because he was deliberately neglected in prison."