Plea from Lockerbie victim’s dad: Let bomber die in peace
The father of one of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing today called for the man convicted of the atrocity to be left in peace to die.
Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora, 23, said that he would treat Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi himself, if he could, to allow him a dignified death.
The retired GP was among a number of victims' families to speak out following confirmation from the Scottish Government that contact had been made with Megrahi's family during the weekend. Officials in Scotland had been attempting to track him down but had not managed to make contact since the fighting reached Tripoli.
Today American news channel CNN aired images of the convicted bomber, apparently comatose and near death, in his villa in the Libyan capital.
Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said his government has no intention of seeking Megrahi's return to Scotland.
Speaking about the CNN footage, Dr Swire, who has always maintained Megrahi's innocence, said: "It is obvious he is sufficiently ill and in need of pain relief and medical care. His medical treatment has been withdrawn due to the circumstances in Tripoli, and his family are saying his drugs have been stolen.
"I feel in view of all he's been through that he should have been accorded a peaceful end in Tripoli with his family. The idea of extraditing him is a monstrous one.
"I would be happy to go and try to look after him if that could be arranged, but I don't know how that could be. He will need pain relief and medication to allow him a dignified end.
"This is a man who withdrew his appeal so that he could be allowed to die close to his family and he deserves to be left in peace for his last days."
Megrahi was convicted and imprisoned in Scotland for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.
He was granted compassionate release in 2009 on the basis that he was expected to die from prostate cancer within months. But he survived and was residing in Tripoli when Muammar Gaddafi's regime fell.
There have been calls for Megrahi to be brought back to jail in the UK in the wake of the collapse of Gaddafi's regime.
The Scottish Government and East Renfrewshire Council, which Megrahi must regularly contact under his conditions of release, said any change in his circumstances would be a matter for discussion with the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).
Dr Swire dismissed the idea of extradition, saying: "Mr al-Megrahi has never wavered in his claim he was innocent and the evidence led against him was so polluted by political influence that it should never have led to his conviction.
"It's a great shame the overturning of the verdict will not happen while he is still alive to see it."
The families of other victims said they feared their chances of discovering the truth behind the bombing would die with Megrahi.
Pam Dix, whose lost her brother Peter, 35, said: "The sad things is that with the death of this man will go our chance of knowing for sure whether he was involved or not.
"It's a very difficult set of circumstances. He maintains he wasn't involved. He remains the only man convicted, but we have never really heard his case for being innocent. We may never properly know now."
Ms Dix, from Surrey, continued: "I was hopeful more evidence would emerge as a result of the change of regime but it's difficult to trust what people are saying.
"If there is evidence - paperwork, a trail, that would be fantastic. It might be that the change of regime might help to bring that about, of course the situation is very chaotic there at the moment."