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Megrahi illness not faked, doctors say

Aug. 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The illness plaguing the Lockerbie bomber released for what U.S. lawmakers believe was an oil-related move could not be faked, an oncologist said.

Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill in 2009 handed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi over to Libya on compassionate grounds because doctors said he had around three months to live.

U.S. lawmakers reacted with outrage after it was revealed his Libyan doctors said he could live another 10 years. They claim British oil company BP, under fire for the massive oil spill off the southern U.S. coast, was somehow tied to the deal.

BP, Scottish and British officials deny the claim, though BP is set to start drilling for oil off the Libyan coast in a matter of weeks.

Karol Sikora, a doctor who examined the former Libyan intelligence officer in prison, said it was unlikely Megrahi had faked his illness.

"You take into account the type of cancer he had, and the X-ray evidence that it had spread," the BBC quoted him as saying. "The blood test for (prostate specific antigen) was rising -- everything pointed towards the fact that he had end-stage disease."

A report Friday in The Wall Street Journal, however, said the prognosis for Megrahi never included an assessment stating that the Libyan had three months left to live. The Journal report did not reference Sikora.

Megrahi was convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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