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. Joe

    Liberals are amazing people.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Stone

      Don't think this was the liberals, it was an oil deal.

      July 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      I do believe that is the first time I have ever seen liberals connected with big oil.....lol

      July 6, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. bluenote

    You know, I don't usually get personally involved in stories, but my best friend lost several of his friends on that flight. Why should this ass88le get any kind of a break because of his health? Did he take into consideration the suffering of the families? Did he care at all about killing a bunch of people that had absolutely nothing to do with his ideology? Who didn't even KNOW what his ideology WAS? But yeah... Let's show compassion for this waste of humanity. God forbid a mass murderer should be forced to die uncomfortably in a prison. Jesus, what the hell is wrong with people?

    July 5, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dwighthuth

    Too bad if this reformed bomber of flight 800 were to accidently never be seen again or his car just happen to end up in a river.

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

      Good luck getting into Libya to make that happen.

      July 5, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • E

      The Isrealis special forces can take care of that problem. They have done it before and are damn good at it.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rod1224

    Did he delay the flight so the passengers could spend extra time with their loved ones before they died? Humans deserve HUMAN RIGHTS not this animal!

    July 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • arrown8606t

      Don't insult the animals.

      July 5, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BillyBob369

    Is anyone really surprised? We wuz scammed. I wonder what or how much changed hands in this deal? I just hope the cancer makes it to this vermin's eyes – soon. If there even was a cancer.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wilson

    In a similar new story, it was revealed that Van der Sloot has developed a chronic cough.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ronin48

    cue the mission impossible theme song and send someone in to take care of this problem. this is ridiculous that this mass murderer returns home to a hero's welcome - and a long life. if this had been an el al flight that had gone down, we wouldn't be reading about how long this guy might or might not live; we'd be reading about how old he was when he died.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Donald

    Unbelievable. Sick.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brett

    As Billy Joel once crooned, "Only the good die young."

    July 5, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. oldone

    Of course his release was all about oil. Pressure was applied by the British government to grant his release on medical grounds. No doctor, not even in the National Health Service is so incompetent. He was hired by Libya and gave them the diagnosis they wanted. Big con game and Libya won, unfortunately.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Seacat

    He will still burn in hell when he finally passes.

    July 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kregel

    LOOK AT THE DOCTORS HEADWEAR!!! He was a freakin Muslim. Scotland govornment should have known better.

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

      you're a twit! that is not islamic garb.

      July 6, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Xill

      nor is it the doctor.

      July 6, 2010 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      the photo is of the terrorist who was released, not the doctor :::rolls eyes::::

      July 6, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. james

    I know a way to fix that life span situation.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • E

      A pretty lil UAV? ... I second it.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. kbbpll

    A planeload of people is nothing to BP. But we'll never know the truth, will we.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sydney Australia

    Is this an indication of the level of medical competency in the UK? No wonder no one ever goes to a dentist.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
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