TRIPOLI, Libya — An official with the rebel government on Sunday ruled out extraditing the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted as the mastermind of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and released from a Scottish prison two years ago on the ground that he was near death.Read the rest here.
The hero’s welcome back in Libya for the bombing planner, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, and his failure to die infuriated the United States and other Western governments, and calls for his return had been mounting as the Libyan revolution unfolded.
The rebels’ resolve to protect the former officer may prove only briefly relevant, however. Just hours after the official spoke, CNN reported that Mr. Megrahi was near death at his villa in the capital here, broadcasting images of a frail man lying comatose in an oxygen mask.
Mr. Megrahi’s death would end the possibility of eliciting his full account of the Libyan government’s role in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans. But it would also remove a potentially serious point of friction between the rebels’ Transitional National Council and its Western backers.