Skip to main content

CNN Exclusive: Lockerbie bomber comatose, near death, family says

From Nic Robertson, CNN Senior International Correspondent
Click to play
Lockerbie mastermind near death
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN tracks Abdel Basset al-Megrahi to his Tripoli villa
  • The cancer-stricken Lockerbie bomber is near death, his family says
  • Al-Megrahi was released in 2009 after doctors found he was dying
RELATED TOPICS

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is comatose, near death and likely to take secrets of the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 to his grave.

CNN found al-Megrahi under the care of his family in his palatial Tripoli villa Sunday, surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip. The cancer-stricken former Libyan intelligence officer may be the last man alive who knows precisely who in the Libya government authorized the bombing, which killed 270 people.

"We just give him oxygen. Nobody gives us any advice," his son, Khaled al-Megrahi, told CNN.

CNN's Nic Robertson: 'Not what I was prepared for'

Al-Megrahi was freed from a prison in Scotland in 2009 after serving eight years of a life sentence for blowing up the Pan Am jet, killing all 259 on board and 11 in the town of Lockerbie below. Doctors who had been treating him for prostate cancer gave him just three months to live, and he was released on compassionate grounds.

He received a hero's welcome in Tripoli, enraging many in the United States and Britain. And with the recent overthrow of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for al-Megrahi to be sent back to prison.

Al-Megrahi has been subject of bitter dispute

But the National Transitional Council, the rebel movement that toppled Gadhafi, announced Sunday that it won't allow the dying al-Megrahi to be extradited.

"We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West," NTC Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said.

Al-Megrahi lived far longer than expected. He made a public appearance with now-fugitive Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in July, confined to a wheelchair. He always maintained his innocence.

With the fall of Tripoli to the rebels, his care has been left up to his son and his mother.

December 21, 1988: On the scene in Lockerbie Video

"There is no doctor. There is nobody to ask. We don't have any phone line to call anybody," Khaled al-Megrahi said.

Part of complete coverage on
Hope and weapons lessons
CNN's Ben Wedeman offers a rare view of fighters, proud to be Libyan, new to warfare yet willing to fight
Gadhafi heard loud and clear
Moammar Gadhafi no longer has his Tripoli compound or his power apparatus. He is a fallen leader and a fugitive
A glimpse into the Gadhafi family
The Gadhafi family -- a large, at times quarrelsome clan that helped the embattled strongman hold onto power
CIA, Gadhafi spy ties revealed
Seized documents revealed a close relationship between the CIA and counterparts in the Gadhafi regime
Gadhafi nurse on life with 'Daddy'
Oksana Balinskaya served as one of Gadhafi's five Ukrainian nurses for nearly two years
Libya's other wealth
Archaeological treasures can be found all over the country, and UNESCO is worried
Ex-jihadist at heart of revolution
Abdul Hakeem Belhaj, who once fought with al Qaeda, is now commander of anti-Gadhafi forces in Tripoli
Real challenge may lie ahead
Former CIA director Michael Hayden says building a stable new regime could be as difficult as ousting Gadhafi
 
Quick Job Search