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EDITIONS
Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 17:49 GMT
Inside 'Gaddafi's café'
Barlinnie prison
Al Megrahi is expected to be housed at Barlinnie
Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is expected to serve his sentence in isolation at a Scottish prison.

Authorities refuse to confirm the name of the prison for security reasons but it is understood Glasgow's Barlinnie jail has been chosen and a special area, dubbed Gaddafi's Café, set aside.

The all male prison, which was built in late 19th century, houses up to 868 prisoners of all categories, although most tend to be serving sentences of less than four years.

If the 48-year-old decides to appeal his conviction, he will be kept in the prison quarters at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands where he has been detained since April 1999, for the duration of that procedure.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi
Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi
A spokesman for the Scottish Executive confirmed that United Nations inspectors had checked Barlinnie prison and a suitable area had been identified for housing Al Megrahi.

The inspectors will be given access to the prisoner during the course of his sentence to monitor his condition.

The prison has been preparing to receive anyone convicted of the Lockerbie bombing for several years.

Originally, a special wing, nicknamed Gaddafi's Café, was set up and then decommissioned.

It is understood a replacement was constructed in the past few years and is ready to house Al Megrahi should he be transferred to Scotland.

Different conditions

If he arrives at Barlinnie, Al-Megrahi will find conditions very different to those at Camp Zeist.

During his detainment in the Netherlands, he has been living in an area with a television showing Arabic channels.

He has also had access to an exercise bike and been able to take walks in the fresh air.

Reports also suggested that a chef was flown in from Libya to accommodate his dietary requirements and special arrangements were made for his religious beliefs.

However, in Barlinnie Al Megrahi will, in most respects, be treated like any other Scottish prisoner.

Although he will be segregated for security reasons, he will be made to work five days a week.

Prison officer
Al Megrahi to be treated like other prisoners
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Prison Service refused to answer specific questions on Al Megrahi but did comment on the general conditions for prisoners.

"The number and length of visits for each prisoner very much depends on the type of prison," she said.

"The minimum that each prisoner can expect is no less than 30 minutes every seven days.

She said that prisoners could expect about one hour's exercise every day and all prisoners were expected to work.

She also said that the Scottish Prison Service made allowances for prisoners' religious beliefs and would observe, within reason, most requirements they have in order to practice their faith.

The spokeswoman confirmed that different classes of prisoners had the same entitlements but these were often delivered in different ways.

Prisoners who were, for example, segregated from the general population were often subject to a different timetable.


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Lockerbie opinion posted by Scots Court Service
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01 Feb 01 | In Depth
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