TRIPOLI, Libya, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The Lockerbie bomber whose release from prison sparked an oil controversy in the wake of the BP oil spill is close to death, the Libyan government said.
The health of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is declining rapidly, London's Telegraph newspaper reports.
Megrahi was released by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in 2009 on compassionate grounds because the former Libyan intelligence officer was said to be dying of cancer. Doctors in Libya gave him an upbeat prognosis earlier this year, sparking furor from U.S. lawmakers who pinned his release to a BP oil deal in Libya.
Sources close to the Megrahi family in Tripoli said it was unlikely the former intelligence officer would live past Dec. 21, the anniversary of the bombing.
"He is on life support and has been for some days," the Telegraph quoted sources as saying. "Many people have been waiting for him to die."
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J, who led an investigation into Megrahi, said after his September visit to Scotland that the decision to release the Libyan intelligence officer was "manipulated" and somehow linked to the BP deal.
BP, as well as the Scottish and British governments, denied there was a connection to his release.
BP, meanwhile, outlined plans to invest roughly $1 billion during the next seven years to development Libyan oil reserves, including offshore drilling expected in December.