US senator urges access to Lockerbie bomber

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US investigators must have access to convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi in Libya to assess his health and question him about the attack, a key senator urged Tuesday.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez called on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to press Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) rebels against longtime strongman Moamer Kadhafi's rule to let US officials see Megrahi.

"It has always been known that he did not act alone," Menendez said in a letter to Clinton urging immediate access to assess the cancer-stricken Megrahi's health and to question him "if and when feasible."

Megrahi is the only person convicted for the in-flight bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 bombing in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

But "we still do not know who ordered the bombing, who collected the intelligence to carry out the plan, who made the bomb and who -- in addition to Megrahi -- bears responsibility for this and other heinous attacks," said Menendez.

The US State Department said Monday that it had asked Libya's new rebel leadership to re-examine the case now that their forces have overrun Kadhafi's regime.

"We asked the (NTC) to, as soon as it can, take a hard look at what it thinks ought to happen with Mr. Megrahi, and it is committed to do that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland old reporters.

The United States has long criticized the decision by Scottish authorities in August, 2009 to release Megrahi early on grounds that they believed he had only months to live because of prostate cancer.

He remains alive more than two years later in Tripoli, although his brother said he is drifting in and out of a coma.

© 2011 AFP

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