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Lockerbie bomber manipulated illness to win freedom: Report

world Updated: Aug 21, 2010 20:53 IST

As international pressure mounted to send Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahiback
back to prison, a media report today said he "refused" chemotherapy and manipulated his illness to get out of jail.

Megrahi, the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie town in Scotland that killed 270 people, did not take full advantage of the medical treatment he could have received while he was in jail in Scotland, Daily Mail report said.

He declined to undergo chemotherapy, which had the potential to extend his life by months, in Scotland and began treatment only after his release from jail.

He told Kenny MacAskill he would need his family's support when it started. At the time his family were in Libya.

The new revelations that Lockerbie bomber manipulated his illness come as calls in UK grow to hold an independent inquiry on the circumstances leading to his release. Across the Atlantic in US the clamour for his return to prison has reached a fever pitch.

New report said that as Megrahi refused chemotherapy, his condition began to undergo such a dramatic turn for the worse that it appears to have been the deciding factor in the release.

The "significant decline" began in the week beginning July 26 last year – just four days after it was reported that the Scottish doctors were talking to Megrahi about new treatment and encouraging him to take his medicine.

In between – on July 24 – Megrahi had applied for compassionate release.

Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish government on 20 August 2009 following doctors reporting on 10 August 2009 that he had terminal prostate cancer and was expected to have less than three months to live.

The prognosis that Megrahi had three months to live came from Dr Andrew Fraser, director of health at the Scottish Prison Service.

In his report on the case, Dr Fraser writes that cancer specialists believed Megrahi had only "months left to live."

Following the release, doubts were expressed whether Megrahi was as ill as claimed by MacAskill in his statement to the Scottish Parliament as he responded well to the treatment after his release.

A document published by the Scottish Government appears to provide evidence that Megrahi was not a model patient before his release.

But, senior government sources in Scotland say its decision to release Megrahi had to be based on his condition last August – not what might happen if he was freed.

A government source with inside knowledge of the case disputes that Megrahi manipulated his illness.

He points out that, at the time, the Libyan was at the centre of an immensely complicated and highly charged situation.

Megrahi's medical records might shed further light on the issue but the Scottish Government says they can't be released because of patient confidentiality.