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. Moose

    The Brits bargaining with the Islamic Devisl.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Moose

    Any Islamic Devil sent back into society to kill (or train others to kill) again. Way to go England.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AnnonUSA

    This is why you never get weak and allow yourself to feel sympathy for a dirty stinking criminal....

    What was so bad about letting him die in Jail?

    July 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ybs

    The beauty of capitalism! Allah Akbar! 🙁

    July 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Major Fail

    It's a shame these leaders even considered the idea to release a mass murder. Their failed thought process will continue to haunt family members for years to come. No excuse.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Clint04

    Put the doctor in prison to finish out the term or until Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi dies.

    July 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Helen Kemp

    Dr Sikora needs to lose his job. He admits he gave the time limit the Libyans wanted – fine. Let him live and work there. We don't need his sort in Britain.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RBN

    I agree, but they shoudl go a step further. Take the doctors, that lied to get them released, and the politicians went along with it, and put them all in prison for the remainder of the life sentence. Oh yeah, and send someone to find Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, take him up in a plane and release him again – from 30,000 feet.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Awesome decision, great job!

    Way to go Scotland! /golfclap

    July 5, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan Stone

    The British government, British Petroleum: Truth is the British will mess us over good for oil. Happy Independence Day!!!

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

      Maybe just a tiiiiiinnnny bit of an overstatement. (British soldiers dying in our wars....)

      July 6, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. mate

    Just die already.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Danny A. Moose

    Unbelievable. "Well, he's either going to live three months or twenty years, so let's send him home to Libya and see which one." Hey, UK, if you ever need help, call someone else.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shawn

    I'm glad they let him out to spend his last days with his family....since he didn't give all his victims that compassion...

    July 5, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    He was sentenced to life in prison. That means he was saposed to die in prison. Does it realy matter what he dies of?

    July 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • May

      Right on Tom. When he was sentanced it did not say he could be released early if he ended up with cancer or some other disease.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. May

    I'll say, shame on the doctor, shame on the courts! It is well known, that even left untreated, some men live twenty or more years with prostrate cancer. Compassionate release? Give me a break. He was not compassionate when he blew up the plane.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
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