LONDON – Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was not given a hero's welcome home, according to the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Writing in Monday's International Herald Tribune, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said there had been no official reception to mark Megrahi's return and both state and foreign news media were barred from covering the event.
The strong reactions to these misperceptions must not be allowed to impair the improvements in a mutually beneficial relationship between Libya and the West, he said.
Saif al-Islam, who accompanied Megrahi on his flight home, denied there had been any quid pro quo on trade and reiterated his conviction that Megrahi was innocent.
Most of those present when Megrahi touched down at Tripoli airport were members of his extended family, he added.
Footage of the Lomberbie bomber being greeted by well-wishers waving Libyan and Scottish flags has angered the families of the 270 people who died in the bombing and proved a political embarrassment for the British government.
Megrahi was released from jail on August 20 after Scottish authorities said his terminal cancer gave compassionate grounds for him to return home to die.
The truth about Lockerbie will come out one day. Had Mr Megrahi been able to appeal his case through the court, we believe that his conviction would have been overturned, he wrote.
I once again offer my deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of those lost in the Lockerbie tragedy, he said.
(Reporting by Christina Fincher