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Lockerbie Bomber Freed After 'Thuggish' Gadhafi Threats

British intelligence also suggests 'imminent death' was a stretch
By M Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2010 7:43 PM CST
Updated Dec 8, 2010 4:47 AM CST
Cable: Lockerbie Bomber Freed After 'Thuggish' Kadafy Threats
In this Sept. 9, 2009, file photo, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is seen at his hospital room in Tripoli.   (AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany, File)

(Newser) – The Guardian highlights WikiLeaks cables surrounding the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, freed by Scotland last year because he supposedly had only a few months to live. The cables show that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's government put "thuggish" pressure on Britain to make sure Megrahi went free. "Specific threats have included the immediate cessation of all UK commercial activity in Libya, a diminishment or severing of political ties, and demonstrations against official UK facilities," wrote the US ambassador.

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That info was followed by this doozy: "[Libyan] officials also implied, but did not directly state, that the welfare of UK diplomats and citizens in Libya would be at risk." Megrahi is still alive today, and a British cable sent to the US prior to his release suggests his cancer diagnosis was far from certain. "Megrahi could have as long as 5 years to live," said the memo. "Doctors are not sure where he is on the time scale." Read more at the Scotsman. (Read more Lockerbie stories.)

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