President Barack Obama said the Scottish decision to free terminally ill Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds was a mistake and said he should be under house arrest. Obama warned Libya not to give him a hero's welcome.
Despite the warning, thousands of young men were on hand at a Tripoli airport where al-Megrahi's plane touched down. Some threw flower petals as he stepped from the plane. He wore a a dark suit and a burgundy tie and appeared visibly tired.
He was accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who was dressed in a traditional white robe and golden embroidered vest. The son pledged last year to bring al-Megrahi home and raised his hand victoriously to the crowd as he exited the plane. They then sped off in a convoy of white sedans.
International photographers and camera crews — along with most Libyan broadcast media — were barred from filming the arrival at the airport, which decades ago had been part of a U.S. air base.