Sunday, 1 November 2009

Megrahi - an update at last!

I've been wondering about the health of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, who was released on "compassionate" grounds, due to experts having assessed that he had three months to live.

The Telegraph carries a story today. It seems that his health has not significantly deteriorated.

Surprise, surprise.

What kicked me in the face, though, was who the "experts" who gave the diagnosis were. Now, bear in mind that the figure of three months is critical, as that is what is required to meet the guidelines for compassionate release.

Expert #1

Within three weeks of the medical examination by Professor Karol Sikora, one of Britain's leading cancer specialists, Megrahi was put on a plane and sent home to Tripoli to die.

Well, that sounds good..... but read on....

Prof Sikora, who is the medical director of CancerPartnersUK in London, was one of three doctors who visited Megrahi in jail on July 28.

He was paid a one-day consultancy fee by the Libyan government to draw up a report delivered two days later. In an interview in September not long after Megrahi's release, Prof Sikora said he was initially "pessimistic" that the experts could say he would survive any less than a year.

But Prof Sikora admitted that the Libyans had encouraged him to conclude that Megrahi had just three months to live following his examination.

"The figure of three months was suggested as being helpful [by the Libyans]," he said. "To start with I said it was impossible to do that but, when I looked at it, it looked as though it could be done – you could actually say that."

Smelly? Who were the other two experts?

While one of the doctors in the team was apparently 'more vague' about putting a limit on Megrahi's life expectancy, a third doctor, Professor Ibrahim Sharif, a Libyan oncologist from the Tripoli Medical Centre, agreed Megrahi had 'about three months'.
I don't recall these sort of details being aired at the time, do you? An interesting quote from another, "real world doctor"....

Prof Nick James, professor of clinical oncology at the University of Birmingham, said: "I would not be surprised if Megrahi was still here well into next year. For sure it could be right his condition has not deteriorated."
What a stitch up. Given all the other things we've learned recently, I withdraw the benefit of the doubt to anything the government says. Even more than I did before.

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