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25 Years On From Lockerbie Bombing

posted 20 Dec 2013, 04:43 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Dec 2013, 04:44 ]

25th anniversary of Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed on Wednesday December 21 1988.

LOCKERBIESCOTLAND (DECEMBER 21, 1988) (BBC) -  7.03pm on Saturday (December 21) will mark a quarter of a century since the Lockerbie bombing, which claimed the lives of 270 innocent men, women and children.

Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who always denied involvement in downing the jet, was convicted of the bombing.

He was released from jail in 2009 amid huge controversy in Britain and died of cancer last year.

Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for his part in blowing up New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988, killing 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground in LockerbieScotland. Judges ruled in 2003 that he must serve a minimum of 27 years before he could apply for parole.

Megrahi always denied any role in the bombing, saying he was an airline executive, not a Libyan intelligence agent as charged.

He was held in a prison in the town of Greenock in western Scotland as he was tried and convicted under Scottish law, although the trial was held in the Netherlands.

In November 2008, Megrahi's lawyers asked a court to free him on bail, saying he was suffering from advanced prostate cancer.

Libya lobbied for Megrahi's release in 2009, saying in May it had applied to theScottish government for him to be sent home as part of a prisoner transfer agreement. In July, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asked then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for help with the case.

Scottish authorities rejected Libya's request that Megrahi be sent back under that agreement, instead releasing him and sending him home on compassionate grounds.

Megrahi was freed on Aug. 20, 2009 and arrived home to a hero's welcome. The next day, Britain condemned the celebrations in Tripoli. The release also provoked an outcry in the United States since most of the 270 people killed in the bombing were American.