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Exclusive: Megrahi says his Lockerbie role exaggerated

Oct 3, 2011, 7:09 a.m.
Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters TV at his home in Tripoli, October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Reuters TV

By Mahmoud al-Ghirbani

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, said his role in the attack had been exaggerated and the truth about what really happened would emerge soon.

Al-Megrahi, released from a Scottish prison two years ago because he was suffering from terminal cancer, spoke to Reuters from a bed at his home in Tripoli. Looking frail and his breathing labored, he said he had only a few months, at most, left to live.

"The facts (about the Lockerbie bombing) will become clear one day and hopefully in the near future. In a few months from now, you will see new facts that will be announced," he told Reuters Television over the pinging of medical monitors around his bed.

"The West exaggerated my name. Please leave me alone. I only have a few more days, weeks or months."

Al-Megrahi was found guilty of bombing Pan Am flight 103 while it was en route from London to New York on December 21, 1988. All 259 people aboard the plane were killed and 11 others on the ground in Lockerbie also died from falling wreckage.

Al-Megrahi, who had served as an intelligence agent during the rule of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, denied any role in suspected human rights abuses under Gaddafi's administration.

"All my work was administrative. I never harmed Libyans," he said." I didn't harm anyone. I've never harmed anyone in my life."

He called the trial that led to his conviction a farce. The proceedings were held in a Dutch court under Scottish jurisdiction.

"Camp Zeist Court is the smallest place on earth that contains the largest number of liars. I suffered from the liars at Camp Zeist Court more than you can imagine," he said.

UNSHAVEN

Al-Megrahi lay propped at a slight angle in a hospital-style bed. An oxygen tank stood nearby, but he did not use an oxygen mask during the interview. Members of his family were in the room with him.

Unshaven, he wore a checked shirt and had a white headdress wrapped loosely around his head.

Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) said last week it would work with the Scottish government over the possible involvement of others in the 1988 bombing, an attack the country's new rulers are eager to distance themselves from.

The NTC had previously called the case closed and said any probe would not involve Megrahi, who had been serving a life sentence in Scotland prior to his release. NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil has previously claimed to have evidence of Gaddafi's involvement in the bombing.

A second defendant, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was cleared of murder charges in the proceedings.

In his interview, al-Megrahi said that Jim Swire, the father of one of the victims of the bombing who has disputed the court's findings, maintained contact with him.

"The day before yesterday, Dr. Swire sent me an email to tell me that there is a new medicine. He is trying to help me. He told me how to get this medicine."

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