At home with the Lockerbie bomber

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Is he the evil perpetrator of the deadliest terrorist attack in British history, or a sick old man, a loving father and grandfather, who has suffered a terrible miscarriage of justice? Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi put on a virtuoso performance when The Times came calling yesterday...

... Al-Megrahi promised that before he died he would present new evidence through his Scottish lawyers that would exonerate him. “My message to the British and Scottish communities is that I will put out the evidence and ask them to be the jury,” he said. He refused to elaborate.

Asked who, then, was responsible for the deaths of 270 people who died in the Lockerbie bombing, al-Megrahi smiled. “It’s a very good question but I’m not the right person to ask.” He insisted that it was not Libya and would not be drawn on suggestions that it was Syria, Iran or the Palestinians.

He said that he understood why many of the victims’ relatives were angry at his release. “They have hatred for me. It’s natural to behave like this,” he said, although he pointedly added that others had written to him in prison to say that they forgave him whether he was guilty or innocent. He appealed for the families’ understanding. “They believe I’m guilty which in reality I’m not. One day the truth won’t be hiding as it is now. We have an Arab saying: ‘The truth never dies’.”

As the conversation grew more serious and more politically sensitive, relatives intervened to say that al-Megrahi was tired and that the interview should end. His mother was led in. She was frail but manifestly buoyed by the return of a son whom she has seen just twice in a decade. “Thank God he’s here again and well,” she said...

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