x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Health worsens for Megrahi

Concerns grew in Tripoli after a medical report said the Libyan sentenced to life in prison for the Lockerbie bombing's cancer has spread.

Concern for the health of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al Megrahi - the Libyan sentenced to life in prison for the Lockerbie bombing - grew in Tripoli today after a medical report said his cancer had spread. "A scan has shown a worsening of the disease which has spread more than before," said the bulletin from the Tripoli Medical Centre where Megrahi, is being treated for terminal cancer. The bulletin was the first since Megrahi, 57, was repatriated to Libya in August following his controversial release from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds

Megrahi arrived at the hospital on Saturday coughing and vomiting, the statement said. He was also suffering from "secondary effects of the sessions of chemotherapy" that he has been undergoing, including weight gain, high blood pressure and sugar in the blood along with muscular fatigue. "His condition was examined yesterday by a team of European experts who agreed on the continuation of chemotherapy sessions while also administering other medicaments to treat the disease," the hospital said in its first bulletin released since Megrahi's controversial return in August.

Last week the Scottish authorities charged with supervising the Lockerbie bomber said they had contacted him in Tripoli on Wednesday, following concerns about his whereabouts. Under the terms of his release from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds, Megrahi cannot leave Tripoli or change his address and must keep in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council. They were unable to contact the Libyan on Tuesday, while The Times| newspaper could not track him down at either his house or the hospital where the terminal prostate cancer sufferer has had treatment.

"We have now spoken to Mr Megrahi, who is in his house. There is no cause for alarm, he is in his house," said a spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council in western Scotland. Megrahi is the only person convicted over the December 1988 bombing of a New York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which killed 270 people. He was freed on August 20 after doctors said he had only three months to live, and returned to a hero's welcome in Libya, which considers him "a victim and not a terrorist," angering relatives of those killed.

His release also caused tensions between Britain, the devolved Scottish government and the United States, where most of the victims were from, and sparked questions about London's growing trade relationship with Tripoli. In October Scottish police said they were re-examining the evidence surrounding the Lockerbie bombing as they seek new suspects in connection with the attack. Detectives are reviewing the case to establish who might have acted with Megrahi, officials have said.

* AFP