Gaddafi's Son Denies Lockerbie Trade-off

The son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi has insisted no deals were linked to the compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomber, it has been reported.

Saif al Islam Gaddafi told The Herald newspaper the "deal in the desert" made over two years ago between Tony Blair and Libya allowing prisoner transfers - specifically targeted Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, but he said the bomber's name was never mentioned.

Megrahi returned home to jubilant scenes in the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Thursday. As he stepped off the plane he received a hero's welcome as a crowd greeted him waving Libyan and Scottish flags.

The Justice Secretary made the decision to free Megrahi on compassionate grounds after medical reports showed that he has terminal prostate cancer and perhaps three months left to live.

The move has been strongly criticised by the US government.

Megrahi had served eight years of a life sentence imposed in 2001 after he was convicted at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands of the murder of 270 people at Lockerbie in December 1988.

Saif Gaddafi told the newspaper: "It was part of the bargaining deal with the UK. When Blair came here we signed the agreement. We didn't mention Mr Megrahi.

"We signed an oil deal at the same time. The commerce and politics and deals were all with the prisoner transfer agreement."

It has emerged that three ministers visited the country in the 15 months leading up to Megrahi's release.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been under pressure to release any information related to trade deals.

Saif Gaddafi is reported to have described Lockerbie as "history" and maintained the next step was "fruitful and productive business" with Edinburgh and London.


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