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The secretary for justice in the devolved government in Scotland decided Aug. 20 to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only individual who had been convicted of involvement in the so-called Lockerbie tragedy. This terrorist incident occurred more than 20 years ago when a Pan American airliner was brought down over Lockerbie, Scotland, by a bomb in the hold. Fatalities totaled 270, mostly Americans, but the victims hailed from 21 countries in all.

Al-Megrahi had been convicted under Scottish law in a court, specially convened in the Netherlands, of responsibility for the tragedy. The reason given for his release was that he was suffering from terminal cancer and was likely to die within three months. The release was accordingly made on compassionate grounds.

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