The Libyan man jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has arrived home from Scotland to a joyous reception after being freed on compassionate grounds.

Hundreds of young people waving Libyan and Scottish flags greeted the aircraft carrying Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi as it landed in Tripoli amid heavy security.

He emerged from the plane wearing a dark suit, his hand held by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who was in the delegation that flew to Scotland to bring him home.

Loudspeakers pumped out patriotic songs ahead of a celebration in the heart of the Libyan capital that Megrahi was expected to attend.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, was released despite pressure from the US government to keep him in prison. He has served just eight years of a minimum 27-year sentence.

270 people died when Pan Am flight 103 came down over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.

'Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power,' Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill told a news conference.

'It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.'

Watch the news conference

Megrahi, 57, is the only person to be convicted over the bombing.

He lost an appeal against his conviction in 2002.

However, a Scottish review of his case ruled in 2007 that it may have been a miscarriage of justice.

The US and the relatives of many of the 189 US victims had opposed Megrahi's early release and said he should serve his full life sentence in prison.

The Megrahi case had become a millstone for the Scottish government in recent weeks.

The Scottish minister studied three options: transferring him to a Libyan jail, freeing him on compassionate grounds or keeping him in a Scottish prison.

Seven US senators had written to the Scottish government demanding that he serve out his sentence in a Scottish prison.

US President Barack Obama has said that the release by the Scottish government was a ‘mistake’ and that he should be placed under house arrest on return to Libya.

‘We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this, and we thought it was a mistake,’ Mr Obama told a US radio journalist, giving his first reaction to the decision.

‘We're now in contact with the Libyan government and want to make sure that if, in fact, this transfer has taken place, that he's not welcomed back in some way, but instead, should be under house arrest.’