Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, convicted in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 in Scotland, died on Sunday in Tripoli, said his brother. The former intelligence agent suffered from cancer and was hospitalized last month for a blood transfusion in a “very critical condition.” He died at the age of 59.
Megrahi was sentenced in 2001 to life imprisonment for his involvement in the explosion of a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, which had killed 270 people. He was released by the Scottish justice for humanitarian reasons in 2009 as doctors diagnosed him with a terminal cancer.
His release had raised an outcry, especially among families of the victims. Upon his return, the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had made for him a triumphant welcome.
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was handed over in 1999 to British justice. During his trial, he introduced himself as the director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Tripoli.
Prosecutors said this position was in fact a cover to hide his duties in the Libyan secret service, where he held a senior position. His co-accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.
In 2003, Libya has officially recognized its responsibility for the attack, and then paid US$2.7 billion in compensation to victims’ families.