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Lockerbie bomber freed on compassionate grounds

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Lockerbie bomber freed on compassionate grounds

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The man convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is heading home.

Angry crowds outside Scotland’s Greenock prison saw him off.

With terminal prostate cancer, Abdul Basset al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds, allowed to return to Libya. Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill explained the decision: ‘‘Mr. al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them. But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days.” Megrahi has served eight years of a 27-year minimum sentence. He was confirmed as guilty in 2002, though a review in 2007 questioned whether he got a fair trial. The US had urged he be kept in prison but many victims’ relatives feel their government pressed this inadequately: “For the Secretary of State to say she protested, and government officials and the executive branch. The one thing I’ve learned over 21 years of dealing with our government is if the United States doesn’t want something in their relationship with the United Kingdom, it doesn’t happen. So don’t insult my intelligence.’‘ said Bert Ammerman, the brother of a Lockerbie victim. A terrorist bomb on board Pan Am flight 103 brought the airliner down on the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people. Megrahi dropped any appeals before being allowed to go free. With this, doubts surrounding his conviction are less likely to be examined.