The only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died used his “final interview” to vow he would clear his name, British newspapers reported Thursday.
A Scottish court in 2001 convicted Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi of the 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103, but he was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after doctors said he had only three months to live.
Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, told investigator and friend George Thomson on Sunday “I am an innocent man” in an interview published in several British newspapers, including The Times and the Daily Mail.
“I am about to die and I ask now to be left in peace with my family,” he said.
During the interview, which will be broadcast on television in February, the Libyan revealed he had helped investigative journalist John Ashton with a new book that will contain “dramatic” new evidence.
“I will not be giving any more interviews, and no more cameras will be allowed into my home,” he explained. “I am an innocent man, and the book will clear my name.”
Megrahi claimed that he had “never seen” a Maltese shopkeeper whose testimony and identification proved central to the original guilty verdict.
“I never bought clothes from him,” he added. “He dealt with me very wrongly. I have never seen him in my life before he came to court.”
According to Megrahi, US agencies “led the way” in securing his conviction.
A top aide to US President Barack Obama on Wednesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the bombing, which took place over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, vowing that Washington would pursue justice in a newly-free Libya for the attack.
Obama’s top anti-terror advisor John Brennan joined relatives of the victims at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.