Updated 08/24/2009 05:14 PM
Scotland defends bomber's release
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SCOTLAND -- Scotland stands by its decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.
The Scottish parliament held an emergency session Monday on Megrahi's release. His release provoked fury from the United States and widespread criticism of Scotland's nationalist government. Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds because he has prostate cancer and is only expected to live a few months.
"Having therefore met the criteria, it therefore fell to me to decide whether Mr. al-Megrahi should be released on compassionate grounds. I was conscious that there are deeply held feelings and that many would disagree whatever my decision. However, a decision had to be made," said Kenny MacAskill, Scottish Justice Secretary.
MacAskill says there was no financial agreement with Libya for allowing Megrahi to return home, but also says he regrets the celebratory welcome Megrahi received after Libyan officials promised him the arrival would be low-key.
In the meantime, Megrahi maintains he is not guilty.
In an interview with London Times Reporter Martin Fletcher at his home in Libya, Megrahi told Fletcher he will eventually prove his innocence.
Megrahi said he'll supply information to the public that will clear his name. Megrahi says not only is he innocent, but that Libya had no part in the Lockerbie bombing either, although he wouldn't comment on who did.
Megrahi is the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people.