July 5th, 2010
08:26 PM ET

Doctor: Released Lockerbie bomber could live much longer

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi in Libya in 2009.

A British cancer expert who said the man convicted in the 1988 plane bombing over Scotland had about three months to live before the prisoner's release last year now says the Libyan could survive another decade or more.

Dr. Karol Sikora told The Sunday Times that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi – whom Scotland's government released on compassionate grounds in August after being diagnosed with prostate cancer - could live another 10 or even 20 years.

Scotland's justice secretary said last year that the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber was made after medical reports showed he had terminal cancer and perhaps three months to live.

"It's embarrassing that [al Megrahi has] gone on for so long," Sikora told The Sunday Times for a report published this week.

Al Megrahi, 58, is the only person convicted in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. Scotland's decision to release him on compassionate grounds was made about eight and a half years after he was sentenced to life in prison.

He was released to his native Libya, and a celebration of his homecoming there infuriated some families of the Pan Am 103 victims.

Sikora, medical director of CancerPartnersUK, was hired by Libyan authorities to help determine al Megrahi's life expectancy in July 2009, The Sunday Times reported.

"It was clear that three months was what they were aiming for. Three months was the critical point. On the balance of probabilities, I felt I could sort of justify [that]," Sikora said, according to The Sunday Times.

He said he wasn't pressured. "There was a 50 percent chance that he would die in three months, but there was also a 50 percent chance that he would live longer," Sikora said, according to The Sunday Times.

The Libyan government forwarded his findings, along with those of two other experts, to Scottish authorities before Megrahi was released, The Sunday Times reported. Sikora is the only British doctor contacted by the paper to "admit to having endorsed the three-month prediction," The Sunday Times wrote.

After Scotland released al Megrahi last year, Scotland Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill told CNN he was acting on advice from the director of health and social care for Scottish Prison Services, the prison governor and "other relevant bodies of Scotland."

Since al Megrahi's release, the British and Scottish governments have denied allegations he was let go to clear the way for British oil deals with Libya.

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Filed under: Justice • Libya • Terrorism • United Kingdom
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Mr Bucket

    Boy, if I ever bomb a plane, I know who I want to pick me up. I have a bad cough and might die one day.

    July 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      This story is hilarious!!! Gotta love how they just let these murderers go! Too funny!

      No accountability any more in this (or any other) country. Classic stuff. What a shameful world we live in.

      July 5, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. slozomby

    arent we glad they let him out so he could spend his final days with his family.

    July 5, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Final decades, apparently.

      July 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DSolomon

      HELL NO

      July 6, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nurse

    So....it wasn't about oil, it was about diagnostic incompetence? That'll be consolation for the victims' families, I'm sure. (Last time I checked, their prognosis was that they'd still feel the pain of their losses every day.)

    July 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • evoc

      This speaks of state of mind on body health. Prison was killing him. The Scotland government did a merciful thing. The joy of freedom has given al Megrahi life. Maybe he will live it wisely.

      July 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • freedtoo

      evoc....Prison should have killed him! The British government fooled nobody, they made a pact with the devil.

      July 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • 789Boof

      I would say that doctor needs to serve out his sentence.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • CDodgen


      He doesn't deserve compassion.

      July 6, 2010 at 4:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. DOW

    Thanks UK – you are a real special friend for doing that to us.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ms

      i suggest you check out the difference between the UK and Scotland before you malke comments like that...

      July 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrienne

      Scotland has been part of the UK since 1707. What's your point?

      July 5, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I expect all the British troops fighting alongside American troops in Afghanistan share tour sentiment – moron.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • dtuttle2000

      ms, I know the difference between the UK and Scotland. Do you know that Scotland Yard is in London? Did you know that Scotland Yard is the headquarters for LONDON'S police department, not Scotland's? just wondering.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      OK, then dtuttle2000, did you understand that it was the SCOTTISH government that released him? It wasn't England's. You do get all this UK stuff, right?

      July 6, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Pip


    July 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Karen K Baker

    You will receive what you have earned!

    July 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. darknight

    we need to send some special forces over there and shoot him.....

    July 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Loved the comment about sending special forces in. I couldn't agree more. Take this guy out. Maybe put him in a giant sling shot and let him fall to his death. But not so far that it is instant. He should slowly bleed to death while at the same time have several broken bones.

      July 6, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Azazello

      Yes! This was my first reaction to this mess. Make him dead! Then hold the Scottish Government as well as the UK authorities responsible for the oil-related sleaze dealings.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    Scottish morons. How dare they. Scotland=Soft on Muslim terror. Scotland=Pathetic

    July 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TTommy

    I guess the UK has problems with their own "feel good liberals" on their side of the pond. I feel sorry for the relatives of those who were killed on that plane.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DRand

      A conservative in the UK is a "socialist" here, have you ever heard David Cameron say they should do away with the National Health Service?

      July 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Of course he will..It was all B..S.... anyway~!

    July 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TTommy

    evoc This speaks of state of mind on body health. Prison was killing him. The Scotland government did a merciful thing. The joy of freedom has given al Megrahi life. Maybe he will live it wisely. -------------- You are a nut case.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pro-American

    they should have returned him to Libya. Compassionately drop him into Libya from an airplane at about 30,000 feet – he likes that sort of thing.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      heh heh heh. I like the way you think.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Sydney Australia

      Excellent Idea!!

      July 6, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Hitchens

      They could give him a parachute. The kind they put in model rockets.

      July 6, 2010 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. wackoae

    Since the Doc lied to give the terrorist a free get out of jail card, what about we give the incompetent Doc the remaining of the sentence?? After all, he is just aided in the escape of a terrorist.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Helen Kemp


      July 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • FutureDoc

      The doctor didn't lie, and he's not incompetent. Nothing is ever a 100% certainty in medicine, predicting future outcomes of patients is somewhat like predicting the weather, we can only speak probabilistically. The doctor even said it himself, it was a 50/50 chance he could die in three months. Don't blame him, blame the idiot government that let him free on a coin toss.

      July 6, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. londongirl

    Oh I'm so shocked!! Nothing is EVER on the up and up with politics...of COURSE it was a business deal !! Obviously such a horrendous loss of life is meaningless to some folks when oil is on the table. And they aren't smart enough to feel shame either.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. londongirl

    I like wachoae's idea by the way!!

    July 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
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