Saturday, 7 December 2013

"In our thoughts and prayers continuously"

[Nelson Mandela's message to Megrahi is the heading over an item posted today on John Ashton’s website Megrahi: You are my Jury.  It reads as follows:]

Nelson Mandela visited Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in Barlinnie prison on 10 June 2002. Here is Abdelbaset’s account of the visit and below it a photo of the two men together and one of the inscriptions that Mr Mandela wrote in an Arabic version of his book Long Road to Freedom, which he gave to Abdelbaset:

Three months after my transfer to Barlinnie, Nelson Mandela kept his promise to visit me. That the world’s most respected statesman should again take the trouble to demonstrate his solidarity gave me a great lift. We chatted for sometime, mainly about the unjust guilty verdict. Having spent 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island, the agonies of prison life were etched into his soul. He asked me about my living conditions, the standard of my food and my bed, clearly aware of the huge importance of those things to a prisoner’s wellbeing. Before he left I introduced him again to my family, who thanked him and presented him with a bouquet of flowers. I was allowed to take photographs of him in the reception area and he signed my Arabic version of his book Long Walk to Freedom, which describes his prison years. In it he wrote: ‘To Comrade Megrahi, Best wishes to one who is in our thoughts and prayers continuously. Mandela.’

Following the meeting he held a press conference, in which he declared: ‘Megrahi is all alone. He has nobody he can talk to. It is a psychological persecution that a man must stay for the length of his long sentence all alone.’


  1. In all its unpretentiousness, this is one of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen.

    Didn't the press ever get hold of this? Or is it just one more of those things in this case that you'd think would have made world-wide front-page news, but never was mentioned?

  2. The photo was one of the ones taken by Abdelbaset's family during the visit. It was never released to the media, but has recently been posted on Facebook by Abdelbaset's son, Mohammed.