[This is the headline over the lead story on the front page of today's Scottish edition of The Times (behind the paywall). It reads in part:]
Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi is no longer receiving treatment for his terminal cancer and is taking high levels of morphine only to dull the pain after giving up his fight against terminal prostate cancer, he has told Scottish officials.
The Lockerbie bomber, freed on compassionate grounds more than two years ago, spoke about his care via a video link from his bed in Libya this month. “Megrahi was able to speak to the officials,” a source told The Times. “He was no longer talking about trying to beat the illness and said he didn’t expect to live for much longer. It sounds as if he has given up.” (...)
His survival thus far has been attributed to the fact that he started receiving chemotherapy on his return to Tripoli. Karol Sikora, who examined the convicted bomber before his release from Greenock prison in August 2009, has said that al-Megrahi was being given medication developed in Britain but not available on the NHS, leading some to speculate that it is this that has kept him alive.
However, the source who spoke to The Times said: “I think that was a bit of a myth and it is certainly the case that he is not receiving anything other than morphine now.”
Al-Megrahi remains, technically, a Scottish prisoner released on licence and is obliged to stay in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council. It was local authority officials with whom he communicated via video link.
The confirmation that he is receiving only palliative care comes after the convicted bomber used what he described as his final interview to protest his innocence and to accuse one of the Crown’s main witnesses of lying at the trial in The Hague. The Times reported last week that al-Megrahi continued to insist that he had not bought clothes from a shop in Malta owned by Tony Gauci, whose identification of al-Megrahi was instrumental in securing his conviction.