[What follows is excerpted from a report published on The Telegraph website on this date in 2002:]
Nelson Mandela today met the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi at Barlinnie Jail in Glasgow and called for a fresh appeal in the case.
The former South African president visited Megrahi for more than an hour at the prison. (...)
Mr Mandela said he also hoped to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush to discuss the case. (...)
During the 30-minute press conference, Mr Mandela described in detail how a four-judge commission from the Organisation of African Unity had criticised the basis by which Megrahi came to be convicted at a special Scottish court, sitting in the Netherlands, in 2001.
Megrahi was convicted of murder for smuggling a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988 with the loss of 270 lives.
"They have criticised it fiercely, and it will be a pity if no court reviews the case itself," said Mr Mandela.
He said it had been suggested that the case could go either to the Privy Council or the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
"From the point of view of fundamental principles of natural law, it would be fair if he is given a chance to appeal either to the Privy Council or the European Court of Human Rights," said Mr Mandela.
Mr Mandela set out his views clearly in what must be the most extraordinary press conference ever held within the Victorian-built jail. He had arrived there earlier amid strict security for his meeting with Al Megrahi - and later in the day, with Al Megrahi's family, also inside the prison.
He travelled there in a people carrier with darkened windows, flanked by police cars and motorcycle outriders. He was taken to see Al Megrahi after meeting prison chiefs.
Mr Mandela, who did not have to undergo any security checks, was escorted to Al Megrahi's living room along with members of his entourage.
Al Megrahi is kept in a cell of his own within the prison, in a section nicknamed by other inmates as Gaddafi's Cafe.
Among those who met Mandela at the prison was Al Megrahi's lawyer, Eddie MacKechnie, who had earlier told reporters of what he claimed was new information which had not been made available to the trial at the time of Megrahi's conviction.
"An 11 million dollar payment was made by the government of Iran to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command two days after the atrocity," said Mr MacKechnie.
He said the information had come from a former CIA officer who had given details of times, dates and bank accounts, adding: "My concern is not simply that there is evidence of such payment, but whether that information was available to any British authorities."
Al Megrahi's case has also been taken up by Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who said today: "It is a thousand pities that Mr Megrahi's pleas to go into the witness box (at his trial) were not heeded."
Mr Dalyell, MP for Linlithgow, who visited Al Megrahi in jail three weeks ago said: "I asked him what he was doing in Malta and he told me in detail how he had been a sanctions buster - getting components for Libyan Arab Airlines because of the sanctions.
"He was going to Nigeria, Brazil and above all to Ethiopia, having contacts with Boeing, in getting much needed parts for aircraft of Libyan Arab Airlines."