Lockerbie bomber Megrahi may live longer, prognosis under cloud

London, Aug 26 : The Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Muhammad al-Megrahi, released by Scottish ministers could actually live much longer than expected, a cancer expert has said.

Megrahi was released on orders of Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, who released the bomber on compassionate grounds of suffering from prostrate cancer.

It was believed Megrahi would die within three months and his release came under the guidelines of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) according to which inmates could be released if they had less than three months to live

However, Dr Richard Simpson, a former member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons' prostate cancer working group, has expressed "significant doubt" that Megrahi will die within the next three months.

The Telegraph quoted Simpson as saying: "It is clear to me from the medical reports and the opinion of the specialists that Megrahi could live for many more months.

"Kenny MacAskill released him apparently on the advice of just one doctor whose status is not clear and who is not named."

Simpson added that a second specialist opinion should have been sought before the release.

A report made by a SPS medical officer for Mr MacAskill, said Megrahi had between 18 months and two years to live last autumn.

But, tests done this June-July showed Megrahi might only live for about a year or so.

However, his personal physician said his condition had "declined significantly" between July 26 and August 3 and three months was a "reasonable estimate" of his life.

But the Labour MSP alleged that the Scottish Justice Ministry had not taken due care take to investigate the seriousness of the bomber's cancer before freeing him.

The Tories also joined in the attack saying the most updated medical information on Megrahi showed he could live up to eight months, which made him ineligible for any mercy release.

Scottish Tory justice spokesman, Bill Aitken said: "In June and July, there was a consensus on prognosis of eight months. Where is that consensus now?

"We only have the opinion of one anonymous individual - not the range of medical experts promised."

The Scottish Executive has now admitted that Megrahi may live more than three months but added that a wide range of medical experts supported the prognosis.

A spokesman said MacAskill had taken the release decision on a report by the SPS director of health and care, who had ghone through all of Megrahi's medical records.

The spokesman said there was a "clear" clinical prediction that the bomber may only live three months.

Copyright Asian News International/