Al-Megrahi vows to prove innocence over Lockerbie | world | Hindustan Times
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Al-Megrahi vows to prove innocence over Lockerbie

The former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing vowed to present new evidence before he died that would exonerate him of any involvement in the attack that killed 270 people. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, in an interview, dismissed the international furore over his release from a life sentence in Scotland on compassionate grounds.

world Updated: Aug 22, 2009 08:35 IST

The former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing vowed on Saturday to present new evidence before he died that would exonerate him of any involvement in the attack that killed 270 people.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, speaking in an interview with Britain's Times newspaper, dismissed the international furore over his release from a life sentence in Scotland on compassionate grounds because of his terminal cancer condition.

Megrahi, 57, who was allowed to return home to Libya on Thursday, said US President Barack Obama and others should know he would not be doing anything apart from going to hospital for treatment and waiting to die.

"My message to the British and Scottish communities is that I will put out the evidence (to exonerate me) and ask them to be the jury," Megrahi, sentenced in 2001, said without elaborating.

Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the murder of all 259 people on board a Pan Am Boeing 747 and 11 killed on the ground when the plane exploded above the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Most of the victims were American.

"If there is justice in (Britain) I would be acquitted or the verdict would be quashed because it was unsafe. There was a miscarriage of justice," said Megrahi.

The decision to release Megrahi was made by the devolved Scottish government, which has its own powers on justice and several other policy areas that are free of control from London.

On Friday, the United States and Britain condemned a "hero's welcome" given to Megrahi on his return to Libya.

Obama described as "highly objectionable" scenes at Tripoli airport where hundreds of young Libyans cheered and waved national flags when Megrahi flew home.

"(Obama) knows I'm a very ill person. You know what kind of illness I have," said Megrahi.

"The only place I have to go is the hospital for medical treatment. I'm not interested in going anywhere else.

"Don't worry, Mr Obama -- it's just three months (until I die)."

Megrahi said 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, while adding that others had written to him in prison to say they forgave him whether he was guilty or innocent.

"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'."

Megrahi said he was "very, very happy" to have been allowed to return home.

When doctors had told him he had just a few months left to live, "this was my hope and wish -- to be back with my family before I pass away," he said.