That would be me.
- First, a "hero?"
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing, which killed 270 people, received a hero's welcome back home in Libya today just hours after being released from a Scottish jail.
He was greeted by a large enthusisatic crowds at the airport in Tripoli, according to The Associated Press.
- Then, more joy, and rumors of commercial reasons from Gaddafi's son.
Saif al Islam Gaddafi said that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi’s return was a “victory” for all Libyans.
He made the claims in a television interview for Libyan television recorded as he accompanied Megrahi on the flight back from Scotland to Libya on Thursday.
The claims were vehemently denied. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “There is no deal. All decisions relating to Megrahi’s case have been exclusively for Scottish ministers, the Crown Office in Scotland and the Scottish judicial authorities.
“No deal has been made between the UK Government and Libya in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests in the country.”
- Denials all around, but more suggestions of improved "relations" from Libya's leader.
Meeting Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and his family late on Friday, Gaddafi thanked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for "encouraging" Scotland to release the dying prisoner from a Scottish jail, Libyan news agency JANA reported.
After receiving a warm embrace from Gaddafi, Megrahi bent forward and kissed the leader's hand, TV images showed.
"This step is in the interest of relations between the two countries ... and of the personal friendship between me and them and will be positively reflected for sure in all areas of cooperation between the two countries," the Libyan leader said.
Gaddafi's comments drew a flat denial from Britain that Megrahi's release was in any way linked to business deals with Libya, which has Africa's largest proven oil reserves. Britain said all responsibility for his release rested with Scotland, which runs its own judicial affairs.
al-Megrahi claims he will prove his innocence before he dies. I would be willing to listen if he does, but if not, then let's hope the three months he's been given on his release is an overestimate. And the I'll be keeping an eye on BP for any new contracts.