Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer and only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing above Scotland which killed 270 people, has died at his home in Libya.
Megrahi, 60, was convicted by a special court in the Netherlands in 2001 for the plane bombing that killed all 259 people onboard the Pan Am Flight 103 and 11 more on ground.
He served eight years of a 27-year-prison sentence, but was released on compassionate grounds in 2009, and allowed to return to Libya after doctors said that he had terminal cancer and only, at the time, three months left to live.
The decision to release him sparked anger from relatives of the victims who died in the explosion that occurred over British soil. The United Kingdom criticised the move, and so did the United States whose citizens accounted for 189 of the dead.
Megrahi outlived doctors’ expectations despite his illness. His brother, Abdulhakim said the convicted Lockerbie bomber died on Sunday at his Tripoli residence.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a day to remember the 270 victims of “an appalling terrorist act”, adding that Megrahi should never have been freed.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond also said Megrahi’s death was an occasion to remember the victims of Lockerbie, but adds that he never believed Megrahi was the only person responsible.
Some believe him to be innocent of the charges.
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died at Lockerbie, called Megrahi’s death a “very sad event”.
“Right up to the end he was determined, for his family’s sake… [that] the verdict against him should be overturned,” said Dr Swire, who is a member of the Justice for Megrahi group.
Megrahi’s sister told the Libyan Wal news agency that his funeral would take place at Tripoli’s main cemetery on Monday, following early afternoon prayers.
The Lockerbie bombing remains one of the deadliest attacks on British soil.