Published Date: 06 June 2011
By Kenny Farquharson
COLONEL Muammar al-Gaddafi's motive for giving a hero's welcome to freed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is revealed today in secret US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and seen by The Scotsman.
The cables reveal that the regime's handling of the homecoming was heavily influenced by Col Gaddafi's simmering resentment towards the West over the case of six Bulgarian nurses freed from a Libyan jail in 2007.
The nurses had been jailed for life for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with the HIV virus. European Union diplomats negotiated their release - but then reneged on a deal that the nurses should serve the rest of their sentences in jail in Bulgaria.
Col Gaddafi's lingering anger at this diplomatic "insult" is revealed in a cable, written by a diplomat, describing a meeting in Tripoli between the colonel and US senator John McCain, shortly before Megrahi's release. The Libyan leader refused to give any guarantees about the tenor of Megrahi's homecoming, the cable reports, despite Mr McCain's warning that a hero's welcome could severely damage Libya's new friendship with the United States.Full Article...