Scotland seeks contact with Lockerbie bomber

LONDON—Scottish officials overseeing the parole of a Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing said Monday they want to contact him now that the fighting between Libyan forces and rebels has reached Tripoli.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of murdering 270 people by blowing up a U.S.-bound Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988.

Scotland freed him from a prison there on compassionate grounds on Aug. 20, 2009, after prison doctors said he had prostate cancer and incorrectly estimated he had only three months to live.

He is still alive, and last month he appeared at a televised rally in Tripoli alongside the embattled Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

George Barbour, a spokesman for East Renfrewshire Council near Glasgow, said the council wants to reach al-Megrahi soon.

“Obviously the situation has changed in Tripoli since the weekend,” he told The Associated Press. “It puts us in a position where we are looking to make sure that we can contact him in the same way we have over the past two years.”

Libyan rebels claimed to be in control of most of Tripoli on Monday after their swift advance on the capital raised the possibility of ending Gadhafi’s 42-year regime.

The council keeps tabs on al-Megrahi through regular video link conferences, and Barbour said there has been no breach of his release conditions or cause for concern about his parole.

Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Britain’s worst terrorist attack.

His release infuriated the families of many Lockerbie victims, who suspected Britain’s real motive was to improve relations with oil-rich Libya.

Some relatives, however, believe al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted and that evidence points to Iranian-backed Palestinian militants as the perpetrators.

American politicians and British leaders also have condemned the decision by Scotland’s semiautonomous government to free the convicted bomber.

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