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Libya: Al-Miqrahi Suffering from Depression - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Libyan citizen Abdul-Basit al-Miqrahi has denied refusing to give his consent to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to release documents related to his case.

A statement published on his Internet website, of which Asharq Al-Awsat has obtained a copy, stresses that he expressed to the commission – through his Libyan solicitor at the meeting that was held on 12 April 2010 – his happiness because these documents would be released, including the documents that were sent to all the authorities concerned, especially the Foreign Office, the British Crown Prince’s office, and the British Intelligence.

The statement adds: “Al-Miqrahi’s stance has been, and still is that all the documents related to his case should be made available to the public, and should be published.”

Al-Miqrahi spends his days in his house in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, nearly as a complete recluse, apart from some visits by some of those close to him from his family.

An informed Libyan source who met with Al-Miqrahi recently said that he avoids talking to the various domestic and international media organs

The source who spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity added: “Due to the condition of health, Al-Miqrahi suffers from a psychological problem. It is not a serious issue, but he is slightly depressed, and has expressed his annoyance with some of what is written about him.”

The same source reveals that Al-Miqrahi has expressed some negative comments on the way the Libyan authorities deal with him. However, he reiterates that he is receiving intensive medical and social care under the supervision of the al-Gaddafi [International Charity and] Development Foundation, which is chaired by Engineer Saif-al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the second son of Libyan Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Al-Gaddafi’s son succeeded last year in repatriating Al-Miqrahi to Libya after he spent 10 years imprisoned in Scotland. Al-Miqrahi was released for health reasons, as a result of what the doctors considered then that it was a matter of time before he would die due to his suffering of cancer.

An official source at Al-Gaddafi Development Foundation says that a team from the foundation supervises the provision of all the needs of Al-Miqrahi and his family. The source points out that Al-Miqrahi receives great attention from Al-Gaddafi’s son.

The source adds: “He (Saif-al-Islam al-Gaddafi) is on constant contact and is well informed about the situation of Al-Miqrahi. This is purely a humanitarian issue. Saif-al-Islam’s interest stems from humanitarian reasons, and does not reflect any political aspects.”

The source explained to Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone interview from Tripoli that: “The foundation does not hesitate to offer all types of support, including medical care. Al-Miqrahi also gets financial help for himself and for his family.”

The Libyan authorities keep silent about the reality of Al-Miqrahi’s health condition. Omar al-Sinusi, the official spokesman of Tripoli International Center, which is located at the eastern entrance of Tripoli, and in which Al-Miqrahi receives treatment, has refused to comment to Asharq Al-Awsat on the announcement by the cancer expert, Karol Sikora, that Al-Miqrahi might live for another 10 years.

Professor Sikora, last year submitted a report at the request of the British Government, in which he predicted that Al-Miqrahi would not live for more than three months.

A team of European experts has assessed Al-Miqrahi’s health condition, and recommended the need to continue with the chemotherapy, with the possibility of using other types of treatment to control the disease partially. A dispute ensued between Libya and Britain after East Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish local authority responsible for the judicial case review of Al-Miqrahi, announced that it was unable to contact him by telephone at his house in Tripoli.

According to the conditions of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Al-Miqrahi cannot change his residence or leave Tripoli, and he should keep in permanent contact with the East Renfrewshire Council.

Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, announced on 20 August 2009 the release of Al-Miqrahi for humanitarian reasons, and that Al-Miqrahi would be allowed to return to Libya after he spent eight years of his life-imprisonment sentence that was pronounced in 2001 after he was found guilty of blowing up the Lockerbie airliner in 1988.

Al-Miqrahi has published on a private website on the Internet documents, which he says that they prove his innocence of blowing up the Lockerbie airliner. Bear in mind that Al-Miqrahi has never admitted that he was involved in the incident, and that Libya considered him to be a “political hostage.” For years, Libya has exerted efforts to secure his release.

The families of the Lockerbie victims have demonstrated differences in their viewpoints of the Lockerbie case since the tragedy occurred some 20 years ago. While British families said that Al-Miqrahi was convicted wrongly, US families expressed their conviction that he was guilty, and criticized his early release.

Al-Miqrahi denies playing a role in the blowing up of the airliner, and says that he was an employee of an airlines company, and was not a Libyan intelligence officer, as it is claimed.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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