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Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi dies of cancer in Libya

By Kim Sengupta

The only person ever convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, has died from cancer in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

He had spent the last two years and nine months there after being freed from prison in Scotland.

The release, on compassionate grounds after the ex-intelligence official was diagnosed with terminal illness, was criticised by Tory and Lib Dem MPs then in opposition; the US administration and some, mainly American, members of bereaved families.

Megrahi's brother, Abdulhakim, said he died at home, adding: “He was too sick to utter anything on his deathbed. But just because Abdulbaset is dead doesn't mean the past is now erased. We will always tell the world that my brother was innocent.”

Megrahi (60) was found guilty of the mass murder of 270 people in the 1988 bombing and ordered to serve a sentence of at least 27 years by the court of Scottish judges sitting in the Netherlands.

Megrahi had always maintained his innocence and had asked for a posthumous appeal to clear his name. A number of those who lost members of families in the bombing, but believe the Libyan was made a scapegoat, have said they will press for a legal review.

David Cameron, however, insisted yesterday any such action was unnecessary. “This has been thoroughly gone through. There was a proper process, a proper court proceeding and all the rest of it,” he said.

The death led to differing reactions among victims’ families.

David Ben-Aryeah, a spokesman for some families, said: “It is to be deeply regretted. As someone who attended the trial I have never taken the view that Megrahi was guilty. Megrahi is the 271st victim of Lockerbie.”

But Susan Cohen, of New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter was one of the victims, declared she was not “interested in theories” over Megrahi's guilt or innocence. “I detest him, he was monstrous, and I hope his death was extremely painful and horrible,” she said.

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