'Lockerbie bomber will not be freed'

Scottish government denies reports it will shorten jail term of terminally ill Lybian terrorist.

August 13, 2009 17:18
2 minute read.
'Lockerbie bomber will not be freed'

lockerbie bomber 248.88. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Scottish officials said Thursday they were considering early release for the Lockerbie bomber - leading to sharp disagreements among victims' relatives in the US and Britain over whether he should be allowed to return home to Libya. British media reports saying Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi could soon be freed on compassionate grounds because he is terminally ill with cancer. The possibility of an imminent release has reignited the fierce debate about whether justice has been done for victims of the attack that killed 270 people - most of them Americans. The Scottish government dismissed the reports by Sky News and BBC television that he could be released next week as speculation, and said the region's justice minister had yet to review all case information before deciding whether to release al-Megrahi. A decision had been expected by the end of August. "Clearly, he is terminally ill, and there are other factors," Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill told the BBC. "But I have made no decision as yet." MacAskill said it was now clear to him that he would have to act as speedily as possible. Neither the BBC nor Sky News cited sources for their reports. Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan secret service agent, is the sole person convicted for the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He was sentenced to life in prison. Some relatives of the victims expressed outrage over the possibility that al-Megrahi would be freed early. Susan Cohen of Cape May Court House, New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, died in the attack, said the idea that al-Megrahi could be freed was a nightmare. "This is total, pure, ugly appeasement of a terrorist dictator and a monster," Cohen said. She said that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi would feel vindicated if the convicted bomber could return to Libya. "Al-Megrahi would be a star," she said, "and we will be left here in ashes and suffering." Others said al-Megrahi was himself a victim of a miscarriage of justice - and that the truth of what caused the bombing has not emerged. "Other people and other countries were involved in this," said the Rev. John Mosey, from Worcestershire, England, who lost his daughter Helga, 19. "We should show him some Christian compassion." Since al-Megrahi's conviction, the dynamics of the relationship between Libya and the West have changed. Gadhafi engineered a rapprochement with his former critics following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He renounced terrorism and voluntarily dismantled Libya's secret program to develop nuclear weapons - earning commitments from Britain and the United States to work together to contain the threat of international terrorism. But the possibility that al-Megrahi could leave his Scottish prison exposed long-standing disagreements between victims' families. Kathleen Flynn, of Montville, New Jersey, told the BBC that "it is terrible to think that someone who was responsible for the bombing could be released on compassionate grounds."

Related Content

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates, July 15, 2018
July 15, 2018
France overpowers Croatia to win World Cup