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Lockerbie father visits Megrahi in Libya

The father of one of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing has been to Libya to visit the only man convicted of the atrocity.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi invited Dr Jim Swire to meet him and the two men spent around an hour together in Megrahi's hospital ward in Tripoli last Tuesday.

Megrahi was released from Greenock prison in Scotland just over a year ago on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya as he battled prostate cancer.

Dr Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora was one of the 270 victims of the bombing, has long believed Megrahi is innocent and has spearheaded a campaign for a full inquiry into the atrocity.

It was the first time the two men had met since Dr Swire visited him in prison in Scotland in December 2008 and he said the Libyan looked better than he expected.

He said: "It was a man to man confidential meeting. We have something in common in that he wants to clear his name and I want to see the verdict re-examined under Scots law so we have a common aim to overturn the verdict.

"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.

"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 and 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.

"Being in a foreign prison cell is about as stressful as it can be."

Megrahi was jailed for life for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which exploded in the skies above Lockerbie.

He was given a fresh chance to clear his name after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) said there were six grounds where it believed a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

However Megrahi dropped his second appeal against his conviction shortly before he was released on compassionate grounds after he was given three months to live.

Dr Swire, 74, said: "Scotland is left in a very strange wilderness because the SCCRC have told Scotland that the trial at Camp Zeist may have been a miscarriage of justice but there's no body or organisation which can question whether the verdict can be overturned or not.

"It is a very difficult situation for us relatives because it's important for us to have the verdict re-examined."

He said if the verdict were overturned they could then demand an inquiry into why the aeroplane was not protected.

Dr Swire, who lives in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, said that he would meet Megrahi again if he is invited.

He said: "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."