Libya 'won't hand over' Lockerbie bomber Megrahi

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi
Image caption Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi remains technically a Scottish prisoner released on licence

Leaders of rebel forces that deposed Col Muammar Gaddafi in Libya have said they do not intend to allow the extradition of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland in 1988.

Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison two years ago on health grounds.

There have been calls for Megrahi to be returned to the UK, or to be tried in the United States.

Megrahi is technically on licence, but his whereabouts have been unknown.

US broadcaster CNN reported on Sunday that it had found Megrahi in a coma at his Tripoli villa, being cared for by family members.

A neighbour in Tripoli had earlier said Megrahi was whisked away by security guards last week as Gaddafi's forces crumbled.

'Already judged'

Mohammed al-Alagi, justice minister for the new leadership in Tripoli, said: "We will not hand over any Libyan citizen to the West.

"And from points A, B and C of justice, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has already been judged once, and will not be judged again.

"We will not hand over any Libyan nationals, it's Gaddafi who hands over Libyan nationals."

Hopes had also been raised in the case of the killing of PC Yvonne Fletcher, after a suspect was recently identified.

PC Fletcher was shot while policing a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

But the Sunday Times reported that senior Libyan officials would not hand anyone over.

Leader 'pledge'

Hassan al-Sagheer, a member of Libya's National Transitional Council, was quoted by the paper as saying: "Libya has never extradited or handed over its citizens to a foreign country. We shall continue with this principle."

It came as William Hague said the rebels had pledged to "co-operate fully" with the British authorities.

Mr Hague told the BBC: "This is an ongoing police investigation so it's quite difficult for me to comment on.

"But I would say that when... [Mustafa Abdul] Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council, was with us in London in May, he committed himself and the council to co-operate fully with the British government on these matters."

He added: "I wouldn't take what has been written in the press today as the last word on the matter."

The National Transitional Council is now recognised by Britain as the sole governmental authority for Libya.

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