U.S. Senate to hold hearing on Lockerbie bomber’s release

News reports question whether Abdelbaset al Megrahi is as sick as depicted

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on July 29 to discuss the release of Libyan Abdelbaset al Megrahi, the man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing killed all 270 people on board the plane, including 11 on the ground in Lockerbie. Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 and served eight years of a life sentence. Senator John Kerry said the hearing will discuss the circumstances surrounding the release of al Megrahi in August 2009, who Scottish authorities said was terminally ill when they allowed him to return to Libya to live out his final days. Al Megrahi is still alive almost a year later, and news reports have questioned how ill al Megrahi actually is, and whether oil company BP may have played a role in lobbying for the release of al Megrahi after a doctor testified he was dying of cancer. British officials and BP said that the oil company’s interests–it was seeking a huge deal to drill for oil in Libya–were a consideration in those talks, but denied that al Megrahi’s release played any role in the deal.