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Lockerbie bomber Megrahi’s funeral to take place Monday in Libya

Published: May 21, 2012 | 7:16 am
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TRIPOLI, Libya – The funeral for Abdel Baset al Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, will take place in Libya on Monday.
Megrahi’s funeral was originally set to take place on the day of his death due to Islamic traditions, but was postponed to allow time for relatives to travel to Tripoli from his southern hometown of Sebha, The (London) Daily Telegraph reported.
More than 100 friends and relatives of Megrahi had already gathered Monday at the villa built for him by the Qaddafi regime — many protesting his innocence and saying he was a scapegoat.
Megrahi died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer that saw him released from a Scotland prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 and allowed to return to Libya. Doctors said at the time that he had terminal cancer and only three months left to live.
Megrahi, 60, was convicted in a Scottish court in 2001 for his role in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in southern Scotland.
Most of those killed in the bombing of the Boeing 747 jet were Americans. All 259 passengers and crew died in the tragedy, along with 11 people on the ground.
His prison release was roundly condemned by victims’ relatives and senior US politicians, including President Barack Obama. Then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond were forced to deny accusations that political convenience and business interests in Libya were behind the release.
Megrahi was greeted as a hero on his return to Libya after having served eight years of a minimum 27-year sentence for his role in the tragedy.
The only person ever convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity, Megrahi had always maintained his innocence over the bombing.
His family has claimed that Megrahi was exploited by Qaddafi’s regime, which they said let him take the blame for a crime he did not commit.
Last month, Megrahi was hospitalized in critical condition at the al Alfa clinic, near Tripoli’s international airport. He was reportedly unconscious and undergoing emergency blood transfusions at the time.
On April 16 his brother brought him home but said there was no hope of recovery.
Megrahi is survived by his wife and five children.

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