TROPLI // Abdel Baset Al Megrahi, the Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died at home in Tripoli today.
His death came nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison, to the outrage of many of the relatives of the attack’s 270 victims. He was 60.
Scotland released Al Megrahi on August 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds to let him return home to die after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time, doctors predicted he had only three months to live.
Anger over the release was further stoked by the hero’s welcome he received on his arrival in Libya – and by subsequent allegations that London had sought his release to preserve business interests in Libya. The British and Scottish governments denied those allegations.
Al Megrahi insisted he was innocent, but he kept a strict silence after his release, living in the family villa surrounded by high walls in a posh Tripoli neighbourhood, mostly bedridden or taking a few steps with a cane.
Libyan authorities sealed him off from public access. When the one-year anniversary of his release passed, some who visited him said Al Megrahi bitterly mused that the world was rooting for him to die.
Al Megrahi is survived by his wife, Aisha, and five children.