Libyan leader's son says Lockerbie bomber very sick

25th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Lockerbie bomber is still "very sick" with advanced stage cancer, nine months after he was released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son said Tuesday.

Seif al-Islam, Kadhafi's eldest son, was asked during a speech in London about the health of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, who he escorted home to Libya on a private jet after his release last August.

"Mr. al-Megrahi is very sick. He has cancer in a very advanced stage and he is in Libya. That's all I know about his condition," he said.

Megrahi is the only person convicted of the 1998 bombing of a US jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which left 270 people dead.

He was released from his Scottish prison in August 2009 because he was suffering from terminal cancer and only had months to live, but the move caused controversy in the United States, where most of the victims were from.

Seif al-Islam heads the Kadhafi Foundation, which is involved in development and humanitarian work, and his speech focused on his vision for a more democratic Libya and one where oil wealth was more evenly distributed.

Half a dozen vocal protesters greeted his arrival at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he has studied in the past. They waved placards and shouted "(Moamer) Kadhafi's a murderer," amid a heavy police presence.

Although he is treated as the heir apparent to his father, who headed a coup that overthrew the monarchy in 1969, Seif al-Islam said he had no desire to be a crown prince and Libya "is not in need of a king".

"I think the best system for Libya is democracy," he said.

He also called for closer ties to Europe and countries bordering the Mediterranean, despite his father's pan-Arabic and later pan-African rhetoric.

"We shouldn't neglect and underestimate the European and Mediterranean dimension. Libya is a Mediterranean country. Our biggest trade partners are the Europeans, not the Africans, not the Arabs," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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