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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 19:18 GMT
Bomber's family return to Libya
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi
Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is in a Scottish jail
Relatives of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing have left their home in Scotland, days before their temporary visas expired.

The wife of Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and four of the couple's five children left their house in Glasgow and returned to Libya to reapply for permission to live in the country.

Al-Megrahi was moved to Barlinnie Prison last March when he lost an appeal against his murder conviction for smuggling a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie in 1988 with the loss of 270 lives.

The al-Megrahi family, who moved to Glasgow last year, were told by the Home Office they would have to reapply from outside the UK when their tourist visas expired.

'No conflict'

Aisha al-Megrahi's house in Newton Mearns, near Glasgow, was bought for the family by the Gaddafi International Foundation so they could live in the city and visit Megrahi in prison.

Their home was pelted with eggs last November after being attacked by vandals.

A spokesman for Eddie MacKechnie, Megrahi's lawyer, confirmed the family had left Scotland for Libya.

Lockerbie crash
The bombing over Lockerbie killed 270 people in 1988

He said: "The family are having to fulfil the requirements for reapplication.

"They have left today and will make an application when they are back in Libya.

"They will be keeping in contact with the Libyan Consul in Glasgow.

"There is no conflict with the Home Office at the moment and we are pursing this application normally."

It is understood the couple's 18-year-old student daughter was allowed to stay in the UK as she held a different type of visa.

This appears to be completely in line with immigration procedures
Home Office spokeswoman

The family's lawyer said they were not formally opposing instructions from the Home Office.

Their six-month visitor visa ran out in December and was extended until March.

The Home Office refused to comment on the specific case but did confirm further visa applications had to be made from outside the UK.

A spokeswoman said: "This appears to be completely in line with immigration procedures.

"Visitor visas are sometimes granted for people to see relatives in Britain and people can apply for extensions, but once these expire they have to abide by their conditions and leave.

"Once they have returned to their country of origin there is nothing to stop people reapplying through local consulates."

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