NTC not to extradite Lockerbie bomber

Official says request by US senators had "no meaning" because al-Megrahi had already been tried and convicted.

    Al-Megrahi, convicted for the Lockerbie bombing, was released after serving eight years of a life sentence [Reuters]

    The National Transitional Council of Libya has said it will not deport the man convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

    Two US senators had asked the NTC to hold Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi fully accountable for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.

    Mohammed al-Alagi, the NTC's justice minister, told journalists in Tripoli on Sunday that the request by US senators had "no meaning" because al-Megrahi had already been tried and convicted.

    "We will not hand over any Libyan citizen. It was [Muammar] Gaddafi who handed over Libyan citizens," he said, referring to the government's decision to turn al-Megrahi over to a Scottish court for trial.

    The Scottish government released al-Megrahi in 2009, believing he would soon die of cancer. He was greeted as a hero on his return to Libya and met with Gaddafi.

    Al-Megrahi was last seen in public in recent weeks when he was wheeled out to a rally in support of Gaddafi.

    Conflicting reports have circulated regarding his current state of health. On Sunday, the broadcaster CNN said al-Megrahi was found in Tripoli in a comatose state.

    New York Senator Charles Schumer had encouraged the new Libyan leadership to hold al-Megrahi accountable. "A new Libya can send a strong statement to the world by declaring it will no longer be a haven for this convicted terrorist," he said.

    Scottish officials overseeing al-Megrahi's parole have said they want to contact him, now that the fighting between Gaddafi's forces and Libyan fighters has reached Tripoli.

    Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Britain's worst terrorist attack. His release after serving eight years of a life sentence infuriated the families of many victims, who suspected Britain's real motive was to improve relations with oil-rich Libya.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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