Gadhafi Son: Why the Fuss Over Bomber's Release?

Celebration of Megrahi's return made possible by Brit TV coverage
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2009 3:48 PM CDT
Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, left, and son of the Libyan leader Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, right, gesture on his arrival at an airport in Tripoli.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi had nothing to do with commerce, Moammar Gadhafi's son tells the Scotland Herald. What's more, he blames the celebration of Megrahi's return on the British news media—“Everyone knew from Sky and the BBC that he was going to land in Tripoli in four hours,” Saif Gadhafi says—and professes to be confused by the uproar. “There is no reason for people to be angry. Why be so angry? This is an innocent man who is dying.”

To secure Megrahi's release, Libya “submitted two requests; one on compassionate grounds because he is sick and the other was under the PTA agreement,” Gadhafi says, referring to the prisoner transfer agreement between Libya and the UK. Scotland rejected the PTA request but accepted the other, Gadhafi says. “This decision was not based on commerce or trade or industry and is entirely separate.” He doesn't deny negotiations included conversation about trade—“We signed an oil deal at the same time,” he says, but “this was one animal and the other was the compassionate release.”