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Bed-ridden and dying, Megrahi 'cannot eat, cannot walk, he is afraid'

By Kim Sengupta

The medicine needed for his cancer treatment was gone, plundered by looters who ransacked the house.

The foreign-trained specialist doctors disappeared when the violence began. Now the desperate family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi are begging the Scottish authorities to supply the drugs which may alleviate his pain and distress in his final days.

The man at the centre of attention lay in a bed at his home in a suburb of the capital. Megrahi, his face skeletal, could barely move. He was attached to a drip, his face covered by an oxygen mask, drifting in and out of consciousness. His 84-year-old mother, Fatima, and his wife, Aysha, were by his side, weeping, holding his hands.

"Why do they want so much to drag him back to suffer in prison? You are looking at a man who is very close to dying," said his brother, Abdelnasser al-Megrahi. "He cannot eat, he cannot walk. He only sometimes asks for our mother, he is afraid.

"The Scottish government is in touch with us every month to ask how he is. It is part of the conditions under which he was freed. We told them what had happened and asked they send some medicine, what we had was stolen when people broke into the house.

"All we are asking for is what he was being given when he was in Britain. He got ill when he was in prison, his cancer worsened because of where he was, locked up. So we hope we may get some help. We also hope now that things are settling down a bit we may get the doctors to pay a call. We have had just one visit from a doctor recently, a local man; there was nothing he could do."

Abdelnasser said his brother was aware of the uprising and that Muammar Gaddafi was no longer in power. He was confident, however, that the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC), would protect him from any extradition demands. "What can he [Abdelbaset] say about Gaddafi?" asked Abdelnasser, a former soldier. "He has met Gaddafi once. We are not involved in what is going on. The TNC does not have any problem with my brother. Almost all of them were Gaddafi people in the past, they know my brother's case and that he is not guilty."

Megrahi's son Khalid, as well as Abdelnasser, insisted they have had no communications with regime officials in the past few months. As for the Lockerbie bombing: "I do not know whether Gaddafi was responsible or not. He should appear before a court and then we will find out."

The verdict on Megrahi, delivered by a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands, was mired in controversy from the outset with many observers convinced that key parts of the prosecution evidence lacked credibility.

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among those killed in the 1988 plane bombing, said yesterday: "I feel that in view of all that Megrahi had been through he should be allowed to have a peaceful end in Tripoli with his family. The idea of extraditing him is a monstrous one."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph