Monday, February 28, 2011

Ex-official says Lockerbie bomber blackmailed Gadhafi for release

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi allegedly threatened “revenge” on Col Gaddafi unless he was returned home to his family, prompting the dictator to spend £50,000-a-month on lobbying and legal fees in a campaign to secure the terrorist’s release.

The allegation from Mustapha Abdel-Jalil, Libya’s former justice minister, emerged last night as Libya remained in the grip of violence with pro-Gaddafi forces continuing their brutal crackdown on protesters.

It was echoed by the former terror chief Atef Abu Bakr, who claimed last night in a separate interview that Megrahi was ordered by Col Gaddafi to help plan the attack as one of the dictator’s former spies.

The claims will cause further embarrassment for Labour, after declassified documents disclosed earlier this month that Gordon Brown’s government worked behind the scenes to secure the bomber’s release in exchange for lucrative trade deals with Libya.

Megrahi is the only man ever to have been convicted over the bombing, which killed all 259 passengers and crew on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 and 11 people in Lockerbie in December 1998.