The view from Tripoli: Celebrations greet the return of Megrahi

Author: By Peter Popham

Earlier his 95-year-old mother, Hajma Fatma, told the Tripoli Post: “Eleven
years I did not spend the holy month of Ramadan with him. We told them [the
victims of the bombing] that my son was innocent; that he would not
slaughter a chicken at home and that he would not have caused the disaster
at Lockerbie.” She added that when he arrived, “I will run out to
the street and hug him so tight”. To not miss the moment of his
arrival, Mrs Fatma said she had been keeping on high alert. “I do not
close the door at all,” she said. “I am expecting him at any
moment.” Mrs Fatma had been kept informed about her son’s medical
condition by his wife Aisha al-Megrahi, who moved to Scotland with her three
small sons in 2002 and who has been commuting between the cottage where they
lived and the jail in Greenock ever since. Now the whole clan has returned
home.

Al Jazeera’s Tripoli correspondent said Libyans were “triumphant” at
the convicted terrorist’s return, but despite yesterday’s airport greeting,
the greatest jubilation will be reserved for the celebration of the 40th
anniversary of the coup d’état which brought Colonel Gaddafi to power on 1
September 1969: Megrahi will be the guest of honour at the celebrations.

A top Libyan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity earlier in the
week, called Megrahi “a model for the Libyan citizen who had sacrificed
himself for his homeland”. He added that Megrahi would “absolutely
not be treated as a prisoner”.

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