Abdel Baset al-Megrahi has died in Libya today at the age of 60. He was a former intelligence officer for the Libyan government and the only person to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 that killed 270 people. Three years ago, he was released from a prison in Scotland due to a terminal illness. His released caused outrage from the relatives of the victims of the bombing.
He was released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds so he could return to his homeland to die following his diagnosis of terminal cancer. At that time, it was estimated he would only live another three months.
Friends and relatives of the bombing victims were vehemently opposed to his release and their anger was stoked even further when al-Megrahi was welcomed in Libya as a hero. In Libya, he stayed in a family villa that was protected by high walls in a neighborhood in Tripoli. He was able to walk only a few steps at a time with the assistance of a cane. Officials in Libya kept him away from the public.
His son in Tripoli confirmed his death on Sunday. Right up until his death al-Megrahi insisted he did not have anything to do with the plane bombing, whose victims were mostly Americans. Many people, including Britons and Americans feel he did not act alone and was acting on behalf of Libyan intelligence and former leader Moammar Gadhafi.
When Gadhafi was ousted from power and eventually killed, British authorities asked the new leaders of Libya to complete a full investigation of the bombing, but they put off the probe for the near future and they also refused to have al-Megrahi arrested and jailed before his death.