Britain warns Libya: don't honor bomber

Aug. 19, 2010 at 10:30 PM
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LONDON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The British ambassador to Libya warned Libyan officials not to hold celebrations to commemorate the first anniversary of the Lockerbie bomber's return home.

Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, 58, the only person convicted for the 1988 airplane bombing in which 270 people were killed over the Scottish lowlands city of Lockerbie, was released from prison a year ago because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

While doctors said he had only three months to live, a Libyan medical source was reported Thursday to have said he may have up to seven years to live, The Guardian reported.

Richard Northern, the British ambassador, said any public events honoring al-Megrahi could harm relations between the two countries, which have improved since 2007 when then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi entered into offshore drilling agreements, the British newspaper reported.

"The celebrations that greeted Megrahi's return to Libya a year ago were insensitive and deeply distressing to the [Lockerbie bombing] victims' families. Any repetition of these celebrations this year would be completely unacceptable. Megrahi remains a convicted terrorist responsible for the worst act of terrorism in British history," the British foreign office said.

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