The Lockerbie bomber has been given an emergency blood transfusion following a sudden deterioration in his health, his brother revealed last night.
Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal cancer, was taken from his home in Tripoli to the intensive care unit of a private hospital.
The news came less than a fortnight after he celebrated his 60th birthday. (…)
Recent pictures of the bomber have shown him looking increasingly ravaged by the cancer spreading through his body.
His brother Abdulkahim told reporters: 'His health began to deteriorate quickly and we were worried about him, so took him immediately to the hospital where he is receiving a blood transfusion.'
Last night, Megrahi's condition was not known but his wife Aisha was by his side at the private clinic with most of the couple's five children.
His death will mark the end of a long fight by the relatives of his American victims to get the former intelligence agent sent to face justice in the US. (…)
Megrahi himself has protested his innocence from the beginning. On his 60th birthday, on April 1, he said prayers thanking God for the 'miracle' of his survival.
Relatives said he was slipping in and out of consciousness, kept alive by oxygen and an intravenous drip, but saw the fact he was still alive as a sign.
A family friend said: 'He is convinced there is a reason for all this and that is why he wants to continue the fight to prove his innocence.
'Brother Abdelbaset is not able to say a great deal but he makes it clear that he has been given time to prove his innocence.'
He attempted to do this with a 'deathbed memoir' claiming several miscarriages of justice.
The book was mainly based on evidence that was never heard, which was intended for an appeal the bomber abandoned. He claimed he was indirectly pressured by Mr MacAskill to drop the appeal in exchange for repatriation to Libya – a claim dismissed by the SNP as 'hearsay'.
On returning to Libya, Megrahi was treated as a hero by Colonel Gaddafi's regime and the new National Transitional Council has refused to hand him over to the US to face further charges.
A source close to Megrahi's family said: 'He's treated as a Libyan who was falsely accused and wrongly found guilty of a terrorist outrage.
'There is a great deal of support for Brother Abdelbaset no matter what his links with Gaddafi were. Brother Abdelbaset is still viewed as a national hero by many Libyans.' (…)
His family have sworn to launch a fresh appeal on the bomber's behalf after his death. [RB: As far as I am aware, this has been discussed within the family, but no promise to launch a fresh appeal has been made.]
"He was admitted on Friday when his health became not so good," the source said, adding that Megrahi's relatives were at his bedside.
[Update from Agence France Presse news agency:]
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie plane bombing, has been hospitalized in Tripoli in critical condition, a source close to his family said on Saturday.
"Abdelbaset has been in hospital since yesterday and his condition is critical," the source told AFP.