TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people needed eleven liters of blood in an emergency transfusion overnight, his brother said on Saturday.
Abdulbasit al-Megrahi, who is suffering from advanced prostate cancer, was rushed to a hospital just outside Tripoli on Friday night after his health deteriorated rapidly.
On Saturday, his brother Abdulhakim told Reuters that his family had been forced to ask volunteers to donate blood to Megrahi because the hospital didn’t have enough itself.
“We went around to mosques, our neighbors, and my military friends to collect eleven liters of blood to donate to my brother,” Abdulhakim said.
“My brother was supposed to leave the hospital once he received the transfusion, but the doctors have forbidden it now because his health is so bad.”
Megrahi, 60, was “sometimes speaking, then slips into sleep,” he added.
In 2001, Abdulbasit al-Megrahi was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 as it flew to New York from London. All 259 people aboard the airliner were killed as well as 11 people on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie who were killed by falling wreckage.
Britain freed him in 2009 on compassionate grounds amid reports he only had months to live.
His release angered many relatives of the victims, 189 of whom were American, and the Obama administration criticized London’s decision. A number of U.S. politicians have pressed for his extradition to the United States, something Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council had said it will not do.
Megrahi, who served as an intelligence officer during the rule of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, denied he was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. He has also denied committing human rights abuses in his home country before Gaddafi’s downfall in a popular uprising last year.
Writing By Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Andrew Osborn