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Lockerbie bomber claims purported new evidence will clear his name over 1988 terrorist attack
LONDON (AP) ' The convicted Lockerbie bomber claimed Thursday to have new evidence about the 1988 terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103 that he said could clear his name.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 over the attack that killed 270 people, most of them American, when the aircraft exploded over the Scottish town. He was freed from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after doctors estimated he had only three months to live due to cancer.
In an interview published in several British newspapers, which they reported had been carried out by al-Megrahi's friend George Thomson on Saturday, the former Libyan intelligence officer protested his innocence and claimed he was on the brink of death.
"I am an innocent man," al-Megrahi was quoted as saying. "I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family."
Since the fall of ex-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Scotland has asked Libya's new authorities to help track down others responsible for the Lockerbie bombing.
In the interview, al-Megrahi said he had collaborated on a new book about the case, which he claimed would present new evidence. He insisted that a key prosecution point against him at his trial was flawed.
Prosecutors said al-Megrahi had bought clothes in Malta that were later packed around the bomb. A key witness, shopkeeper Tony Gauci, identified al-Megrahi during the trial.
"I never ever in my entire life bought clothes from his shop, I have never bought clothes from him. He dealt with me very wrongly. I have never seen him in my life before he came to court," al-Megrahi was quoted as saying.
Al-Megrahi said the interview, which was filmed by Thomson for a documentary scheduled for release in February, would be his final comment on the case.
"I will not be giving any more interviews, and no more cameras will be allowed into my home," he was quoted as saying.