By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
Libya's National Transitional Council told CNN Monday that the decision on what to do with the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, will be left to the still-to-be elected government of Libya.
Backing away from a statement by NTC Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi that "We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West" Mahmoud Jibril, president of the executive bureau of the National Transitional Council, contacted CNN to clarify the NTC's position.
"What Mr. Alagi was talking about was about a legal point," Jibril told CNN. "He was not talking about a policy or a position taken by the TNC (also referred to as the NTC.) So there is a misperception, a misinterpretation of the statement by Mr. Alagi."
"Mr. Alagi cannot make a policy statement on behalf of the TNC or on behalf of the Libyan people, Jibril said. "This will be left to the Libyan people to decide in the future. The TNC is an interim body and it cannot decide major issues. This would be left to the elected government to take care of. Our main priority now is stability and order in the country and Tripoli. This is our utmost priority right now," Jibril said.
Al Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 after serving eight years of a life sentence for blowing up the Pan Am jet, killing all 259 on board and 11 in the town of Lockerbie. He was released on compassionate grounds because doctors who had been treating him for prostate cancer gave him three months to live.
He received a hero's welcome by the Gadhafi regime in Tripoli, enraging many in the United States and Britain. And with the rebel sweep into Tripoli in recent days, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for al Megrahi to be sent back to prison.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson found al Megrahi under the care of his family in his palatial Tripoli villa Sunday, surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip.
The NTC's Mahmoud Jibril told CNN the NTC has never discussed the issue of al Megrahi and added "Since we are a state of law and we claim that we will be a state of law, every injustice done definitely will be dealt with by the elected government." The NTC's Justice Minister, he said, is a lawyer and was "talking about the legal rule, he was talking about the legal interpretation of the case. But he was not stating a policy by the TNC. As I said, this is not the time to talk about those sensitive issues."
"We all know that the legacy of Gadhafi is filled with problems related to Lockerbie, problems related to weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons. All these issues will be dealt with in the proper time and according to the new rules and new perception and the new commitment that we make in front of the world by the new regime, which is going to be established in Tripoli."