Mystery surrounded the Lockerbie bomber last night after he could not be reached at his home or in hospital.
Libyan officials could say nothing about the whereabouts of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, and his Scottish monitors could not contact him by telephone. They will try again to speak to him today but if they fail to reach him, the Scottish government could face a new crisis.
Under the terms of his release from jail, the bomber cannot change his address or leave Tripoli, and must keep in regular communication with East Renfrewshire Council.
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic and relatives of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing expressed anger about al-Megrahi’s disappearance. Richard Baker, Labour’s justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament, said the whole affair was turning into a shambles and putting Scotland’s reputation at risk. “This flags up just how ludicrous it is that East Renfrewshire Council, a local council thousands of miles away from Libya, is responsible for supervising al-Megrahi’s conditions of licence,” he said.
East Renfrewshire called every other Tuesday to make sure he’s in Tripoli.That was a security protocol?
The Times of London decided to do its own checking and called the hospital itself over the weekend. They were told that Megrahi had checked out some time ago. When the Times attempted to call Megrahi at home, they were told he was gone. The council then attempted to call yesterday, on a Tuesday when Megrahi would not be expecting a call, and couldn’t reach him.
So where is Megrahi? He may have gone somewhere else to die quietly. However, it’s a lot more likely that he’s gone somewhere else to laugh at the credulity of the West in setting free one of the worst terrorists we managed to capture.
I was actually in Scotland when all this was being discussed and then his release. Every Brit or Scot I met, after learning I was an American, apologized for the release.