The Libyan national who was freed by a Scottish court on humanitarian grounds despite his conviction in the bombing of a passenger airliner over Lockerbie has said he would provide fresh evidence to prove his innocence.

In an interview with Britain’s Times newspaper, the terminally ill Libyan Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi said he would present evidence that would exonerate him of any involvement in the 1988 bombing of the flight Pan Am 103. Libyan state television showed Mr. Megrahi, who is suffering from prostrate cancer being warmly welcomed by Libyan President Muammar Qadhafi in Tripoli. Colonel Qadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam Qadhafi personally escorted Mr. Megrahi in the plane which brought him to a hero’s welcome in Tripoli.

A large section of the Arab media has come to Mr. Megrahi’s defence. The London-based Palestinian daily Al Quds Al Arabi said:

“Al-Megrahi continued to assert throughout his period in jail that he was innocent of all the charges against him.

In an interview with this newspaper before one year, he said that he did not perpetrate the crime and that he would have committed suicide had he perpetrated it.”

Chief Editor of the Libyan Al-Jamahiriya newspaper, Abdul Razzaq al-Dahesh, was quoted as saying Mr. Megrahi’s release was “a gift from the commander [Colonel Qadhafi] to the Libyan people,” which would help improve energy-rich Libya’s relations with the West.

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