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Africa

Victim's father visits Lockerbie bomber in hospital, protests innocence

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-20

A man whose daughter was killed when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, visited Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi (pictured), who was convicted of the bombing, in Tripoli on Tuesday. Jim Swire says he believes Megrahi is innocent.

AFP - The cancer-stricken Lockerbie bomber can get out of bed and walk although he is clearly a very sick man, said the father of a victim after visiting him in Libya.
   
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi invited Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora was one of 270 killed in the 1988 bombing, to visit him and the two men spent an hour together on a hospital ward in Tripoli on Tuesday.
   
Swire, who is British, is convinced of the Libyan's innocence and has spearheaded a campaign for an inquiry into the bombing.
   
Megrahi, the only person ever convicted of the attack, was released from a Scottish prison in August last year on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
   
Scotland's devolved government, which has control over its own justice matters, freed the bomber after he was given just three months to live and he returned to Libya to a hero's welcome.
   
But more than a year later he is still alive, to the anger of relatives of the mainly American victims who died when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.   
   
Swire, who last saw Megrahi in a Scottish prison in December 2008, said late Sunday that the Libyan looked better than he expected during what he described as a "man-to-man confidential meeting."
   
"I was very relieved to see him as well as he was. He is a very sick man but he can get out of bed and walk though not very far," said the 74-year-old.
   
"I think one of the reasons he has lived so long is he has had good treatment in Libya and he has been returned to his family and his community and his country.
   
"These are a huge relief to the body in fighting cancer because your immune system depends very heavily on how much stress you are under."
   
While many US-based relatives of victims strongly oppose Megrahi's release after eight years of a minimum 20-year term, some British families wonder whether he was guilty of the bombing at all.
   
Swire said he would be willing to visit Megrahi again: "When I go to see him it is not that difficult because I don't feel I'm going to see my daughter's murderer because I am satisfied he didn't do it."
   
Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, has secluded himself in a Tripoli villa and only emerges to undergo hospital treatment. He has always denied carrying out the bombing.

 

Date created : 2010-09-20

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