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. Sharon

    A life sentence is supposed to be exactly that: the last address you will ever have is the same as the prison's address. After that, your quasi-address is the prison's graveyard.

    July 6, 2010 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. James

    I grew up about 15 mins north of Syracuse NY (Central Square) and was just about 21yr.old and I cant tell you what an impact this had on SU and our city. To many lives were lost that day and to let a convicted person free to live his life out with his family and friends just seems wrong on so many levels. See all 35 students names and the rest at this link. http://archives.syr.edu/panam/

    July 6, 2010 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. pigmore

    What they don't like to publicize folks is that it had to do with BP OIL drilling rights, the same bunch of criminals killing the gulf.

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

    Why show compassion to a murderer? They never should have let him go. He was treated like a hero when he returned to Libya. He's now training other terrorists. Scotland looks like a bunch of fools now.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    He's still alive? Now there's a suprise.. and yes – it was completely to do with drilling rights. I think relations with the US are more important for the UK than making a bit of money on oil but you pays your money and you takes your choice and releasing this murderer who, by definition, has stripped himself of any human rights was a big mistake.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. BillShut

    50 caliber bullet: $2
    Sniper rifle: $3000
    SEAL team sent in to finally send a murderer straight to hell: PRICELESS

    July 6, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. fronco123

    This was a set up from the get go,Libyan's payed off Scotland politicians and doctor's off.270 people murdered and they let this terrorist live like a king and went home like a HERO. Scotland is a terrorist country now for me, and i lost all respect for them murderers.most Americans are not going to forget Scotland and i say boycott them forever.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sgt Schultz

    This is typical. Islamic extremists kill and maim and then use our 'sympathy' against us.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. nursemarti

    Where's Mitch Rapp when you need him??

    July 6, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. tha_goods

    Let's not cry over spilled milk!! Hey what would we do with him !?! we closed Guantanamo!! Remember!! I thought a life sentence meant you died in prison, go Scots!!

    July 6, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Red-White-Blue

      Your calling my mother blood spilled milk. It is just like you Americans to oversee the justice with a quick bailout, and if money is your issue, it because people like you that this great country has been ruined, because of all the Spilled milk philosphy that is worth crap from were i come from.

      August 21, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dar

    No wonder Scotland is still under British rule. Pansies.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. fronco123

    Im just wondering how many UK terrorist are in the US. we can no longer trust these murderers from UK people coming in the US. no more visa's.and send these murderers back. and also doctors that are here.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Darth Vader

    11 years ago, I was told by a doctor that if I didn't have a particular operation, I would probably only have 6 months to live. They want to cut pieces out of me. I said, "no way".

    I think the doctor was wrong...

    July 6, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. DSolomon

    This is the reason why we should never trust others to look our for our interests, which is the path Obama is taking.

    The doctors over there must not be competent to make a proper medical diagnosis. Perhaps national healthcare is not such a good idea.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Matt

    So they let him out to help out BP get an oil contract, and now BP causes the worst US oil spill. The Brits are great at screwing the Americans over. Lets hope that ExxonMobile buys BP, that'll teach em a lesson.

    July 6, 2010 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
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