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Cameron rejects Megrahi probe plea
David Cameron has dismissed calls for a fresh inquiry into the conviction of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi in the wake of his death.
The Prime Minister also reiterated his stance that the Libyan terrorist should never have been released from jail on compassionate grounds nearly three years ago.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over the Scottish town which claimed 270 lives.
He was later diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and controversially released from prison in August 2009 with an estimated three months to live. But Megrahi, who always proclaimed his innocence, proved medical experts wrong and finally lost his cancer battle in Tripoli yesterday at the age of 60, his son said.
The Libyan's death sparked renewed calls from campaigners for an independent inquiry into his conviction, with many raising doubts about his guilt and questioning if he acted alone in carrying out the atrocity. But Mr Cameron moved quickly to brand a new inquiry as unnecessary.
"I've always been clear he should never have been released from prison," he said. "I'm very clear that the court case was properly done and properly dealt with."
The Prime Minister said thoughts should be with the people who died in the "appalling terrorist act" and the the suffering their families have endured. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond insisted the Lockerbie case remained a live criminal investigation and that authorities would rigorously pursue any new lines of inquiry.
The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York four days before Christmas, killed all 259 people on board. Eleven residents of the Dumfries and Galloway town also died after the plane crashed down on their homes in Britain's biggest terrorist atrocity. Megrahi's funeral is expected to take place at Tripoli's main cemetery on Monday, according to a Libyan news agency.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defended the Scottish Government's decision to release Megrahi from prison in 2009. She told BBC Radio Scotland: "Compassion is a long-standing principle in the Scottish criminal justice system. (Justice Secretary) Kenny MacAskill took the decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds because he was dying of terminal prostate cancer.
"One of the things that I hope will happen as a result of Megrahi's death is that some of the wilder conspiracy theories surrounding his release will now be laid to rest. He did have terminal prostate cancer and he died of terminal prostate cancer."