Liable to the Libyans
With the news that doctors were ‘encouraged’ by the Libyans to conclude that the Lockerbie bomber had only three months to live, and Jack Straw’s admission of using the prisoner to secure trade deals, the UK can no longer deny the obvious.
September 6, 2009 3:21 by Dana El Baltaji
The untimely release of Libyan national Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, has spurred an international row over the UK government’s motives.
The Scottish government released al-Megrahi, who is dying from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds claiming that doctors have given the Libyan only three months to live; under Scottish rules, prisoners who have only three months or less to live can be released on compassionate grounds.
However, a Sunday Telegraph report claims the Libyan government encouraged two or three doctors who examined al-Megrahi to say he had three months to live. Their prognosis was graver than the findings of doctors who examined the prisoner in June and July, who said al-Megrahi has 10 months to live.
Professor Karol Sikora, one of doctors who examined the prisoner recently and head of CancerPartnersUK in London, said: “The figure of three months was suggested as being helpful [by the Libyans].”
“To start with I said it was impossible to do that [give a three-month life expectancy estimate] but, when I looked at it, it looked as though it could be done – you could actually say that,” he added.
The Sunday Telegraph also reported that the Libyan foreign minister Mousa Kousa, who was deported from Britain in 1980 for planning to kill Libyan dissidents in London, said during meeting between Libyan and Scottish officials on January 22 that “al-Megrahi’s death in Scotland would not be viewed well by the Muslims or Arabs. Nor would it be good for relations.”