My role was exaggerated, says Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi

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The Independent Online

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, said his role in the attack had been exaggerated and the truth 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 home in Tripoli. Looking frail and his breathing laboured, he said he had only a few months to live.

"The facts [about the Lockerbie bombing] will become clear one day and hopefully in the near future," he said. "In a few months from now, you will see new facts that will be announced. The West exaggerated my name. Please leave me alone. I only have a few more days, weeks or months."

Megrahi was found guilty of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 as it flew from London to New York on 21 December, 1988. All 259 people on board were killed and 11 died on the ground in Lockerbie.

Megrahi called the trial a farce. The proceedings were held in a Dutch court under Scottish jurisdiction.

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

Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said last week it would work with the Scottish government over the possible involvement of others in the Lockerbie bombing.

Megrahi said that Jim Swire, the father of one of the Lockerbie victims who has disputed the court's findings, has maintained contact with him. "The day before yesterday, Dr Swire sent me an email to tell me that there is a new medicine," he said. "He is trying to help me." REUTERS