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Wed 27 Jul 2011 08:09 AM

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Lockerbie convict joins rally to back Gaddafi

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was freed from a Scottish jail after diagnosis of terminal cancer

Lockerbie convict joins rally to back Gaddafi
Libyans rally in support of embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi, as a NATO-led campaign to oust him stretches into its fourth month

The former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the 1988
Lockerbie bombing over Scotland made a rare public appearance on Tuesday at a
rally in support of Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan state television showed Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who
returned to Libya in 2009 after being freed from a Scottish jail on the grounds
he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer, wearing traditional local garb
and sitting in a wheelchair at a tribal meeting in Tripoli.

Such meetings have been common as Gaddafi rallies support
while rebels push on with their campaign to end his 41-year-rule. Gaddafi is
clinging to power despite the rebels' advances and four months of NATO
airstrikes.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of playing a "significant
part in planning and perpetrating" the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over
Lockerbie in which 270 people were killed. He was sentenced to life in prison
with a minimum jail term of 27 years.

His release angered the United States, and his return to a
hero's welcome in Libya was an embarrassment to the British government.

Megrahi's survival has raised US questions about the medical
advice that led to his being freed.