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Lockerbie bomber near death

TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is near death and barely conscious, his brother said Monday, echoing statements by the country's new leaders that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi should not be extradited for the 1988 terrorist attack that killed 270 people.

Since rebel forces gained full control over the capital of Tripoli last week, American and European politicians have called for Megrahi to be returned to a foreign jail. A Scottish court released him in 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and was said to have only months to live.

"He is very, very sick," his brother Abdel-Nasser al-Megrahi told reporters outside Abdel Basset's house in one of Tripoli's wealthy neighborhoods.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond also on Monday dismissed calls that Megrahi be extradited to the United States or returned to jail in Britain, saying instead he should be allowed to die in peace.

Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001 but was freed from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after doctors estimated he had three months to live. In July, when the rebels were slowly advancing toward the capital on three fronts, he appeared sitting in a wheelchair at a rally supporting Moammar Gadhafi's now-ousted government.

Lockerbie bomber near death 08/29/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2011 10:46pm]
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