Lockerbie bomber ‘able to get out of bed and walk’

Campaigner visits Megrahi in hospital in Tripoli for ‘man-to-man’ meeting

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi

The convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, freed 13 months ago by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer, is able to get out of bed and walk, despite being a very sick man.

The news comes courtesy of Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the 270 people killed when a PanAm jetliner exploded over Lockerbie in 1988.

"Abdelbaset remains a sick man," said Swire after visiting Megrahi in Tripoli last week, "but he is in better shape than I had dared to hope. His mind is perfectly clear."

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Amid the continuing controversy over Megrahi's release and the fact that he has already lived nearly a year beyond the three months he was given, Swire has remained convinced that Megrahi deserved to be freed - because he was wrongly convicted in the first place.

His meeting with the Libyan was the first since he visited him in jail in Greenock in December 2008.

Swire, 74, found Megrahi in hospital, but in surprisingly good shape considering his predicament.

"I think one of the reasons he has lived so long is he has had good treatment in Libya and he has been returned to his family and his community and his country.

"These are a huge relief to the body in fighting cancer because your immune system depends very heavily on how much stress you are under."

Swire described his visit to Megrahi's bedside as a "man-to-man confidential meeting".

He said: "We met as brother members of the human race and seekers of a common goal - the re-examination of the available evidence which led to a verdict we believe was reached under political pressure rather than the rules of justice."

Megrahi still maintains his innocence and is desperate to see the verdict against him overturned, said Swire, who wants the Lockerbie case reopened to clear Megrahi's name - despite the Libyan having dropped his appeal.

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