- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2009

TRIPOLI, Libya (Agence France-Presse) | Cancer is threatening to kill convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was set free by a Scottish judge in August, a medical bulletin said.

“A scan has shown a worsening of the disease, which has spread more than before,” said the bulletin from the Tripoli Medical Center, where al-Megrahi is being treated for terminal cancer.

The bulletin received by Agence France-Presse was the first since al-Megrahi, 57, was repatriated to Libya in August following his controversial release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

Al-Megrahi arrived at the hospital on Saturday coughing and vomiting, the statement said.

He was also suffering from “secondary effects of the sessions of chemotherapy” that he has been undergoing, including weight gain, high blood pressure and sugar in the blood along with muscular fatigue.

“His condition was examined on Saturday by a team of European experts, who agreed on the continuation of chemotherapy sessions while also administering other medicaments to treat the disease,” the hospital said in its first bulletin released since al-Megrahi’s return in August.

Last week, the Scottish authorities charged with supervising the Lockerbie bomber said they had contacted him in Tripoli on Wednesday, following concerns about his whereabouts.

Under the terms of his release, al-Megrahi cannot leave Tripoli or change his address and must keep in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council.

They were unable to contact the Libyan on Tuesday, while The Times newspaper could not track him down at either his house or the hospital where the terminal prostate cancer sufferer has had treatment.

“We have now spoken to [al-Megrahi], who is in his house. There is no cause for alarm, he is in his house,” said a spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council in western Scotland.

Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted in connection with the December 1988 bombing of a New York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which killed 270 people.

He was freed on Aug. 20 after doctors said he had only three months to live, and returned to a hero’s welcome in Libya, which considers him “a victim and not a terrorist,” angering relatives of those killed.

His release also caused tensions among Britain, the devolved Scottish government and the United States, home of most of the victims, and sparked questions about London’s growing trade relationship with Tripoli.

In October, Scottish police said they were re-examining the evidence surrounding the Lockerbie bombing as they seek new suspects in connection with the attack.

Detectives are reviewing the case to establish who might have acted with al-Megrahi, officials have said.

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