Megrahi in 'good condition' for cancer patient: Arab paper

21st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Libyan official said convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was "in good condition" for a cancer patient but depressed by reports he should have died by now, an Arab daily reported on Saturday.

Megrahi was thought to have had only three months to live when Scotland's devolved government released him to Libya on compassionate grounds a year ago, in a move which has incensed victims' families and stirred US criticism.

The senior official said Megrahi was "in good condition considering his situation as a cancer patient," the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

But Megrahi, who has secluded himself in a Tripoli villa and only emerges to undergo hospital treatment for his prostate cancer, is "experiencing a very hard mental condition," said the unnamed official.

Megrahi had told him: "They want to quicken my death. Is it up to me? They killed me in prison a million times, denied as I was from seeing my children and family. So what more do they want from me?"

The report came a day after the first anniversary of his return to Libya, when he was met at the airport by a crowd waving a Scottish flag.

London warned Tripoli not to celebrate Friday's anniversary, as the White House slammed the release as "wrong." No events took place in Libya to mark the return of Megrahi, who has defied the prognosis he only had months to live.

Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, has always maintained his innocence in the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 mid-air bombing that killed 270 people, while Libyan officials insist he was wrongly sentenced and imprisoned.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam told him in a televised conversation after he was set free that his release was raised in economic negotiations with Britain.

Whitehall says it was purely a Scottish government decision.

The US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee plans to hold a hearing on whether British energy giant BP played a part in securing his release to clinch a 900-million-dollar (700-million-euro) oil exploration deal with Libya.

© 2010 AFP

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