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 Lockerbie bomber declares innocence on TV from prison

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Number of posts : 399
Location : Glasgow
Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Lockerbie bomber declares innocence on TV from prison   Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:04 am

Published Date: 07 September 2008
By Hazel Mollison

THE man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has expressed "sympathy" for the "pain" of the 270 victims and protested his innocence in a secret telephone call to a TV station from his prison cell, it was reported today.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing, spoke to the Arab TV network Al Jazeera from a telephone inside Greenock Prison. The interview, in Arabic, was broadcast to millions of viewers in the Middle East.

Relatives of the victims yesterday described his offer of sympathy as "nauseating" and "detestable".

Megrahi, 56, is appealing against his conviction for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

It was reported he took part in a popular current affairs programme, Ma Wara al-Khabar (Behind The News), speaking to Sa'd Jabbar, a Moroccan lawyer and Middle East expert based in London, who was a guest on the programme, for several minutes on a "crackly" telephone line.

Jabbar was last night quoted as saying: "Megrahi was talking in general about himself, about the tragedy and his own tragedy of injustice. He said he has sympathy for the families of the victims and swore he didn't do it.

"He was very firm. He said 'I'm innocent, I understand the pain of the victims'. He was very articulate, better than any other participant."

The bomber also praised Scottish legal experts who are working to overturn his conviction.

Former Washington diplomat David Mack and Megrahi's former lawyer Ibrahim Legwell also took part in the show, which was broadcast from Al Jazeera's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, on August 29.

The programme came just days after Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, described the Lockerbie victims' families as "greedy".

Last night Susan Cohen, from New York, who lost her only daughter Theo in the disaster, said it was "unbelievable" that Megrahi should be able to speak on television from prison.

She was reported as saying: "As a mother sitting here facing my daughter's birthday on September 10, I'd like to throw his words right back at him. For him to express his sympathy is detestable. It is a bit late for sympathy now."

A Scottish Prison Service spokesman confirmed that Megrahi had not received permission to contact the programme. Although he made several calls from the telephone in his prison wing on August 29, records show these were all to "local numbers".
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