Britain has urged Libya not to repeat the scenes of a year ago, when the freed Lockerbie bomber returned to Tripoli to a hero’s welcome.
Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, who has prostate cancer,
was released by the Scottish authorities on compassionate grounds on August 20th 2009.
He had been serving a life sentence for his part in blowing up a passenger jet over the Scottish town in 1988.
He was expected to die within three months, but he has lived to see the first anniversary of his release.
The British Foreign Office says more celebrations would be deeply insensitive to the victims.
In Lockerbie people are still questioning the decision to free the bomber.
“The release went ahead. But I think in all honesty it wasn’t well thought out, it was done too rashly,” said resident David Rea.
A year on, the release still rankles outside Lockerbie too. The new coalition government in London also believes it was a mistake.
The Scottish government says it followed medical advice about Megrahi’s condition.
“It was a decision that was never going to satisfy everybody,” said Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. “There was no consensus. Some disagree, some agree. But the decision had to be made by me. It was my responsibility, I followed the rules and the laws of Scotland, I acted on the appropriate advice, and it’s a decision I stand by.”
The anniversary has been noted in the US. Many of the bombing’s 270 victims were American passengers bound for New York. Four US senators investigating Megrahi’s release have written to the UK government and the Scottish authorities demanding answers.