Lockerbie Bomber Being Allowed to Die in Libya

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who in 1988 killed 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, has terminal prostate cancer and is being allowed to die at home...

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From CNN:

Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is to be released and allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds, Scotland's justice minister said Thursday.

Al Megrahi, 57, is suffering from terminal prostate cancer. He was serving a life sentence for bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill told a news conference in Edinburgh the prisoner was "going home to die" and would be released within an hour of the announcement shortly after 1200 GMT (8 a.m. ET).

"Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion available," MacAskill said. "Our beliefs dictate that justice be served but mercy be shown."

The Pan Am flight exploded December 21, 1988, as it flew over Scotland on its way from London to New York. All 259 people aboard the plane died, along with 11 Scots on the ground.

Families of the Lockerbie victims have been divided on whether al Megrahi should be ever be released.

The United States has made clear to the British government and others that it believes al Megrahi should spend the rest of his time in jail.

In a statement released shortly after Thursday's announcement, the White House said it "deeply regrets the decision".

"As we have expressed repeatedly to officials of the government of the United Kingdom and to Scottish authorities, we continue to believe that al Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland," it said.