Megrahi says his Lockerbie role exaggerated

The 1988 Lockerbie bombing convict has said that his role in the attack had been exaggerated and the truth about what really happened would emerge soon.

Tripoli: 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.

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

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

Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of bombing Pan Am flight 103 as it flew to New York from London on December 21, 1988. All 259 people aboard the aircraft were killed and 11 others on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie also died from falling wreckage.

His release on compassionate grounds angered many relatives of the victims, 189 of whom were American, and the Obama administration criticized the decision. A number of U.S. politicians have pressed for his extradition to the U.S.

The United States said on Monday it still believed Megrahi should be behind bars.

"He does seem to have made a miraculous recovery...he never should have been let out of jail," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We continue to believe that the right place for Megrahi is behind bars and we will continue to make that case to the Libyans."

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 in his home country.

"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 his Lockerbie trial, held in a Dutch court under Scottish jurisdiction, a farce.

"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

Megrahi lay propped at a slight angle in a hospital-style bed surrounded by members of his family. An oxygen tank stood nearby, but he did not use an oxygen mask during the interview.

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. 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

PTI

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