Back in 2009, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland was released from prison on "compassionate" grounds, ostensibly because he was expected to die from prostate cancer within three months. (The real reason, according to a U.S. Senate report, had to do with lucrative Libyan oil contracts sought by British-based oil giant BP.) Upon his return to Tripoli, al-Megrahi received a hero's welcome, and he's been living in luxury ever since. But now CNN reports that he really is so totally going to die soon, and his family is sad.
With the fall of Gadhafi, there was hope that al-Megrahi would be extradited back to Scotland to die in prison, instead of surrounded by his loving relatives—a fate denied the families of the 246 people killed in the bombing. But the National Transitional Council, the rebel movement that toppled Gadhafi, announced yesterday that extradition was not an option. "We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West," NTC Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said in a statement. Yeah, it's not like "the West" has done anything for them lately, anyway.
And in what was surely not a publicity charade to quell the outrage over al-Megrahi's continued existence, CNN reporter Nic Robertson was invited to visit al-Megrahi in his fancy home. He'd hoped to conduct an interview and ask al-Megrahi whether Gadhafi was involved in the bombing, but he found him incapacitated: "oxygen mask on his face... the drip hanging a foot from his head. His skin seemed paper-thin, his face sallow and sunken."
His son tells Robertson, "We just give him oxygen. Nobody gives us any advice. And some food by injection (drip) ... If you see his body he is weak." And so Robertson departed after ten minutes in the room with al-Megrahi and zero questions answered. If al-Megrahi sprang from his bed as soon as the door shut and restarted his Dance Dance Revolution game where he left off, Robertson wasn't there to report it.