LONDON (AFP) – Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi is abandoning his appeal against conviction, his lawyers said Friday, following reports he is set to be freed on compassionate grounds.
Lawyers for the former Libyan agent, jailed for 27 years over the 1988 atrocity, made the application two days ago to the High Court in Edinburgh, said legal firm Taylor & Kelly. It still has to be approved by the court.
Libya has also applied for him to be transferred home to serve his sentence, and dropping the appeal could pave the way for this to take place.
Megrahi, a former Libyan agent, was ordered to serve at least 27 years for the bombing, which killed 270 people when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the Scottish village of Lockerbie.
Media reported earlier this week that he could be set free on compassionate grounds next week as he has prostate cancer which his supporters say is terminal. Officials say no decision has yet been taken.
The plan to drop the appeal has dismayed those who believe Megrahi, 57, was wrongly convicted and that there are more facts which need to emerge in the case.
Professor Robert Black, a leading Scottish academic lawyer and one of the architects of Megrahi’s trial in The Netherlands, told Scotland’s Herald newspaper: “I just don’t understand why he is dropping the appeal now.
“If the appeal is to be dropped then the next step is to press for a public inquiry… once the appeal is dropped this is really the only avenue available for people to get questions and issues into the public domain.”