Megrahi breaks the record

On 19 May 2010 Abdelbaset al-Megrahi became the longest survivor of any of the Scottish prisoners granted compassionate release on the grounds of their terminal illness.

Mr Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 108, which brought the plane down over the Lockerbie area in 1988.  Suffering from prostate cancer, he was released from Greenock prison on compassionate grounds and returned to his Libyan homeland and family amidst much controversy in August 2009.  An issue at the time was whether Mr Megrahi’s condition was such as to meet the general guideline that compassionate release might be granted where a prisoner had three months or less to live.  But the guideline is not a rule, and there have been several cases of released prisoners living well beyond the three-month period.  There are conflicting reports on the current state of Mr Megrahi’s health and prospects of continued survival; he is understood to be engaged in the making of a TV documentary about the Lockerbie case.

Little note seems however to have been taken of the continuing survival of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, also released on compassionate grounds from his English prison in August 2009.