Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- High-level Libyan sources have disclosed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar al- Gaddafi, who recently met a US congressional delegation in Tripoli, sharply criticized the US objection to the release for health reasons of Libyan citizen Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who was convicted in the Lockerbie case.
Al- Gaddafi considered what he called the hard-line US stand as one which does not contribute to building strong relations of friendship between Tripoli and Washington. The sources said al- Gaddafi urged the United States to bypass al-Megrahi’s case as quickly as possible due to his health conditions so that he can spend his remaining days with his family and relatives due to the deterioration of his medical condition caused by cancer.
But on the other hand, a high-level Libyan official expected al-Megrahi’s return to his country within days after his release from his current jail in Scotland because of the deterioration in his health. The Libyan official, who asked Asharq al-Awsat” not to identify him, said in a telephone call from Tripoli that al-Megrahi would be the main guest at the celebrations that the Libyan authorities would hold to mark the 40thanniversary of Col. al- Gaddafi’s coming to power in 1969. He revealed that al- Gaddafi and senior Libyan Government officials as well as al-Megrahi’s family would be on hand to receive him on his return to Libya from Scotland.
The Libyan official described al-Megrahi as a national hero and pointed out that the Libyan state has not stopped following his case or showing an interest in his health condition or being assured about what he called the good care accorded to his family during his absence. He said al-Megrahi has become a model for the Libyan citizen who sacrificed himself for his homeland and country and voluntarily accepted the sentence of the international court in The Hague that convicted him, contrary to the truth. He stressed that al-Megrahi is a fully qualified citizen, will have full citizenship rights, and will absolutely not be treated as a prisoner, adding that he would undergo complete medical examination due to his deteriorating physical and mental conditions.
On its part, a source in al-Megrahi’s family, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the family was waiting for his return as soon as possible and praised the role of al- Gaddafi Development Foundation, which is led by the Libyan leader’s second son Saif-al-Islam, in returning al-Megrahi to his homeland and family. It added: “We thank Engineer Saif-al-Islam al- Gaddafi for all his positive efforts in this and also thank the foundation he leads for its constant care for him and his family through his years in jail.”