Libyan convicted in Lockerbie bombing dies

BENGHAZI, Libya - (AP) - Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died Sunday nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison to the outrage of the relatives of the attack's 270 victims. He was 60.

Scotland released al-Megrahi on Aug. 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds to let him return home to die after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time, doctors predicted he had only three months to live.

Anger over the release was further stoked by the hero's welcome he received on his arrival in Libya - and by subsequent allegations that London had sought his release to preserve business interests in the oil-rich North African nation, strongly denied by the British and Scottish governments.

After his release, he kept a strict silence, living in the family villa surrounded by high walls in a posh Tripoli neighborhood, mostly bedridden or taking a few steps with a cane. Libyan authorities sealed him off from public access. When the one-year anniversary of his release passed, some who visited him said al-Megrahi bitterly mused that the world was rooting for him to die.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, confirmed his death in a telephone interview but hung up before giving more details.

To the end, al-Megrahi insisted he had nothing to do with the bombing, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

"I am an innocent man," al-Megrahi said in his last interview, published in several British papers in December. "I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family."

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