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5:40pm UK, Monday May 21, 2012
Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi, who died on Sunday, has been buried during a subdued ceremony near Tripoli.
The funeral took place with little fanfare at a cemetery in Janzour, west of the Libyan capital.
Pallbearers carry the coffin of Abdelbasset al Megrahi
It was attended by around 100 family members and passers-by – a stark contrast to the hero’s welcome Megrahi received three years ago upon his return to Libya after serving eight years of a life sentence in Scotland.
Megrahi died from cancer at his home in the Libyan capital nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.
The burial of Abdelbaset al Megrahi at a cemetery west of Tripoli
David Cameron has dismissed calls for a fresh inquiry into the conviction of the ex-intelligence official in the wake of his death.
The Prime Minister also reiterated his stance that the Libyan terrorist should never have been released from jail after he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.
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 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 on Sunday at the age of 60, his son said.
:: 270 people were killed when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie in 1988
:: 11 of the victims were residents killed when wreckage crashed to the ground
:: Megrahi was convicted in 2001 and told in 2003 that he must serve at least 27 years
:: He returned to Libya after being freed in 2009 on compassionate grounds
The Libyan’s death has 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.
The Scottish government has said the case remains a live criminal investigation.
Robert Forrester, from the Justice for Megrahi group, said: “The Crown and successive governments have, for years, acted to obstruct any attempts to investigate how the conviction of Mr al Megrahi came about.
“Some in the legal and political establishments may well be breathing a sigh of relief now that Mr al Megrahi has died. This would be a mistake.
“Many unfortunates who fell foul of outrageous miscarriages of justice in the past have had their names cleared posthumously.”
The group, which is seeking to have Megrahi’s conviction quashed, is supported by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu and Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing.
But Mr Cameron has moved quickly to brand a new inquiry 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.”
Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing
The Prime Minister said thoughts should be with the people who died in the “appalling terrorist act” and 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.
“Mr Megrahi’s death ends one chapter of the Lockerbie case but it does not close the book,” he said, adding that the Crown’s position has always been that Megrahi acted with others.
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.
After protracted international pressure, Megrahi was put on trial in the Netherlands.
He was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years behind bars but was the only man ever brought to justice over the terrorist attack.