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 Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die

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PostSubject: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:30 pm

Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die

By TAREK EL-TABLAWY, Associated Press Writer Tarek El-tablawy

Associated Press Writer – 17 mins ago

TRIPOLI, Libya – The only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 returned home to Libya to die after he was released from a Scottish prison Thursday, a decision that outraged some relatives of the 270 people killed when the jetliner blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, more than two decades ago.

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, at the military airport in Tripoli where al-Megrahi's plane touched down thousands of youths were on hand to warmly greet him. He left the plane wearing a dark suit and a tie and accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi. They immediately sped off in a convoy of all-white vehicles.

At home, al-Megrahi is seen as an innocent scapegoat the West used to turn this African nation into a pariah, and his return is a cause for celebration. There was a festive atmosphere with some wearing T-shirts with al-Megrahi's picture and waving Libyan and miniature blue-and-white Scottish flags. Libyan songs blared in the background.

"I think it's appalling, disgusting and so sickening I can hardly find words to describe it," said Susan Cohen, of Cape May Court House, N.J., whose 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, died in the attack. "This isn't about compassionate release. This is part of give-Gadhafi-what-he-wants-so-we-can-have-the-oil."

But many in Libya view his homecoming as a moral victory for the African country and an end to a long-standing humiliation at the hands of the West. They say Libya was forced to surrender al-Megrahi to end years of crippling sanctions.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi lobbied hard for the return of al-Megrahi, an issue which took on an added sense of urgency when al-Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. He was recently given only months to live.

The 57-year-old former Libyan intelligence officer served only eight years of his life sentence.

Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing on Dec. 21, 1988, and sentenced to life in prison. The airliner exploded over Scotland and all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when it crashed into the town of Lockerbie.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 27 years in a Scottish prison for Britain's deadliest terrorist attack. But a 2007 review of his case found grounds for an appeal of his conviction, and many in Britain believe he is innocent.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who announced the release, said although al-Megrahi had not shown compassion to his victims — many of whom were American college students flying home to New York for Christmas — MacAskill was motivated by Scottish values to show mercy.

"Some hurts can never heal, some scars can never fade," MacAskill said. "Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive ... However, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

He said he stood by al-Megrahi's conviction and the sentence for "the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on U.K. soil."

He added that he had ruled out sending the bomber back to Libya under a prisoner-transfer agreement, saying the U.S. victims had been given assurances that al-Megrahi would serve out his sentence in Scotland. But he said that as a prisoner given less than three months to live by doctors, al-Megrahi was eligible for compassionate release.

But U.S. family members of Lockerbie victims expressed outrage.

"I don't understand how the Scots can show compassion. It's an utter insult and utterly disgusting," said Kara Weipz, of Mount Laurel, N.J. Her 20-year-old brother Richard Monetti was on board the doomed flight. "It's horrible. I don't show compassion for someone who showed no remorse."

As his white van rolled down street outside Greenock Prison on his way to the airport in Glasgow, Scotland, some men on the roadside made obscene gestures. Al-Megrahi later appeared on the airport tarmac dressed in a white tracksuit, black shirt and white baseball cap. He covered his mouth with a white scarf as he slowly climbed the stairs up to an Airbus plane aided by a cane.

In a statement following his release, al-Megrahi stood by his insistence that he was wrongfully convicted.

"I say in the clearest possible terms, which I hope every person in every land will hear — all of this I have had to endure for something that I did not do," he said.

He also said he believed the truth behind the Lockerbie bombing may now never be known.

"I had most to gain and nothing to lose about the whole truth coming out — until my diagnosis of cancer," he said, referring to an appeal against his conviction that he dropped in order to be freed. "To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this, they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered."

Al-Megrahi's conviction was largely based on the testimony of a shopkeeper who identified him as having bought a man's shirt in his store in Malta. Scraps of the garment were later found wrapped around a timing device discovered in the wreckage of the airliner. Critics of al-Megrahi's conviction question the reliability of the store owner's evidence.

A letter published Thursday showed that Libya had invoked human rights concerns in appealing to Scotland for al-Megrahi's release.

Abdulati Alobidi, Libya's Secretary of European Affairs, said under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights — a U.N. treaty — all those deprived of liberty must be "treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person."

Gadhafi engineered a rapprochement with his former critics following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He renounced terrorism, dismantled Libya's secret nuclear program, accepted his government's responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families.

Western energy companies — including Britain's BP PLC — have moved into Libya in an effort to tap the country's vast oil and gas wealth.

Al-Megrahi was a well-known figure in the Scottish community near his prison, receiving regular treatment at the hospital and visited often by his wife and children, who lived in Scotland for several years.

Briton Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died on Flight 103, welcomed the Libyan's release, saying many questions remained about what led to the bomb that exploded in the cargo hold.

"I think he should be able to go straight home to his family and spend his last days there," Swire told the BBC. "I don't believe for a moment this man was involved in the way he was found to be involved."

Among the Lockerbie victims was John Mulroy, the AP's director of international communication, who died along with five members of his family.
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:32 pm

Compassion for this piece of human waste?

How is this justice?

Let me die in a prison cell. He should have been strung up and/or shot years ago.

What is Scotland thinking?

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:25 pm

A world gone wrong. It's bullshit in action.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:19 pm

Quote :
Despite the warning, at the military airport in
Tripoli where al-Megrahi's plane touched down thousands of youths were
on hand to warmly greet him. He left the plane wearing a dark suit and
a tie and accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son, Saif
al-Islam Gadhafi. They immediately sped off in a convoy of all-white
vehicles.

Wow...

I mean

Wow.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:45 pm

OK while I understand that some families are not happy about what has gone down today the Scottish government was following the rules and laws of our country, if we use Scottish law to put him behind bars we cannot just suddenly ignore those same laws because it will result in a controversial outcome. Megahri ( if he did it and apparently theres a lot of evidnece to conroary) should rot but the law says he can be released because many expert reckon he will be dead in 3 months.

And while the good ol USofA is moralising Scotland ask yourself this. If Meghari did it then that order would have come from Gadaffi thats the same Gadaffi the USA now deals with and the same Gadaffi who pockets get lined by Major US companies ( not just BP as the report claims) we let the bo,ber out because he is dying you deal with the man who no doubt ordered the attack for cash and oil and you are moralising us
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:23 am

I don't even know where to start.

I will say that the video on the news tonight of this piece of shit getting off of an airplane, arm held high amongst cheers and confetti was sickening.

I read over the bullshit documents in this case. This poor guy is suffering mentally because of his illness, well boo hoo. Let's let the terrorist go home and live the rest of his days in peace. He can go home and die amongst family and friends in a country that's celebrating him. Fantastic. That's law? How about some justice.

It's more than controversial. It's a travesty. Mockery of justice. Families of the 270 people who don't get to see their loved ones again get to see this guy step on his home soil again a hero. These families are beyond unhappy. I think they're pretty damn outraged and rightfully so.

What kind of law is that?

He's dying? Let him die.

Too bad he wasn't shipped over here.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:30 am

actually not all 270 families are pissed off there are a lot of British families who believe this was the biggest miscarriage of justice in legal history and when you look at the facts of the case they have a point. As for Americans having a got at our laws maybe they should have a look at Americas legal problems before having a go at us because as far as I can see it's far from perfect over there.
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:01 pm

As far as the legitamcy of the trial, that's a whole different subject. If it's being taken into account as far his release goes, then it's more of a travesty. This isn't about his trial.

I'm not going to slam Soctland for it's legal process, or any other country. It goes without saying that our legal system is a million miles from perfect.

Fact remains- he was convicted. Once convicted of a crime the prisoner should not get let out because he or she is gravely ill. They have a debt to society. They serve their punishment. If they die in prison, so be it.

The victims sure didn't such compassion. Every breath of free air he takes is like spitting in the face of every person whose life was ruined by this horrible act of terrorism.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:51 pm

So what would everyone else do, people are so quick to say he should have stayed in Greenock but if your the minister and the law says he has to be let out what else can you do. You can ignore the law and break it and the get sued for millions by meghari and then we get criticised for paying out to him. Either way we get battered and theres not a happy solution. The point I am trying to make is I hare lots of American say he should have been left in jail but they are thinking under the mindset of what would happen if he was an American prisoner where compassion isnt considered, but he's a Scottish prisoner he killed many Americans but the crtime was commited in Scotland. You dopnt have to be happy but you should at least accept that these are our laws and everyone in the country is bound by them.

Like Heck said it's not the main issue but Clinton should be asking us to open an enquiry and use the new evidence to help but then again I dont think that wouild help the families if the evidence says what everyone thinks it does.
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:59 pm

FBI chief: Bomber's release 'a mockery'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller harshly criticized the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber in a letter released Saturday, calling it "a mockery of the rule of law."

FBI Director Rober Mueller called the release "detrimental to the cause of justice."

1 of 3 Mueller, in a note to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, said MacAskill's decision to release Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is "as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice."

Al Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people, including 189 Americans, were killed.

MacAskill freed him after doctors concluded he has terminal prostate cancer and estimated he has three months to live.

In explaining his decision to release al Megrahi, MacAskill said that Scotland's "justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion [be] available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served but mercy be shown."

Al Megrahi received a jubilant welcome on his return to Libya, where a flag-waving crowd cheered and honked horns.

President Barack Obama said Friday that al Megrahi's warm reception was "highly objectionable." British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called it "deeply upsetting."

"Your action rewards a terrorist ... (and) makes a mockery of the emotions, passions and pathos of all those affected by the Lockerbie tragedy," Mueller wrote.

"But most importantly, your action makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own ... You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution."

"You apparently made this decision without regard to the views of your partners in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy," Mueller wrote. "You have given the family members of those who died continued grief and frustration. ... Where, I ask, is the justice?"

Al Megrahi has always maintained his innocence, complaining that he had spent years in prison for something he did not do.

The Libyan government had accepted responsibility for the bombing and compensated victims' families in a $2.7 billion deal that paved the way for sanctions against Libya to be dropped and for Tripoli to improve ties with the West.

But Thursday, after al Megrahi's return, the Libyan official news agency JANA issued a statement from the government saying that al Megrahi had been "a political hostage," as evidenced by his release.
-----

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:58 pm

Well thats his opinion but I think a lot of people will ask where is the jusstice when the American govt and American MNCs are lining the pockets of Gadaffi the man who ordered the attack guess justice isnt important when there is oil to be drilled and money to be made
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:20 am

I hear you lodge. We're boys so I don't wanna crap on your country. We're all just paying politicians to make things right for some agenda that we have now idea about.

Still. This shit is fucked up.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:03 am

And to think this is over is a tragic understatement.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:54 am

People are outraged over this.

I think if Scotland wants to show compassion to it's rapists, killers, and terrorists, let them do it,

but when it's an act like this, with most of the victims being Americans getting rained down out of the sky onto the ground, then they should stick the compassion for Joe Thug in a bag of Haggis.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:26 pm

Well thats your opinion but I cant see Scotland picking and choosing which laws apply to which people actually cant see many countries doing that. End of the day this was our prisoner, a crime commited in our country and dealt with under our laws but after reading all the reactions I am beggining to this this is partly because America couldnt makes us do what they demanded and we know that America doesnt like it when that happens.
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:13 pm

It has to do with the several hundred American lives that were lost. It's not about telling other countries waht do to. That is far, far from the point. This isn't about the 'big bad' USA 'bullying' other countries, so let's pump the brakes on that.

I think that most people want justice, plain and simple. And seeing this piece of shit disembark a plane to roaring applause on his home soil is like spitting on the grave of every victim and giving the finger to their families.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:12 pm

Lodgebo,

let me ask you, do you agree with this thing that happened here, or are you just saying that good or bad, it's your (Scotland's) business?


Bad news is Scotland's going to lose some tourist money the next few weeks or months. Good news is, after a little time, tourism will come back. American's love Scotland. We love Ireland, Scotland, Australia and England. It's not really a racial thing, as we don't give a flip about France, Russia, or Germany. We kind of do, but not like we do you guys. I think it's more that we all speak English, although Austrailia, Ireland, Scotland and England speak it badly, us Yanks do it right. Southern Yanks that is.

This will blow over in a few months, but right now, even the Liberals over here are ****ing pissed off at you guys. It's like we thought you had our back, and you sided with terrorist punks for reasons unknown.

Showing compassion to some thug that whacks 200 plus people on a plane...we just don't see anyway to justify it in the real world, laws or no laws. We just can't put our minds around the concept.

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:31 pm

U.S. Tourists Threaten Scotland Boycott Over Libyan’s Release




Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. tourists threatened to boycott Scotland over the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, as Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond acknowledged the “hurt” caused by his government’s decision.
Al-Megrahi, 57, who is dying of prostate cancer, was greeted by cheering crowds on his return to Libya on Aug. 20 after being freed from prison on compassionate grounds. The decision was condemned as a “mockery of the rule of law” by FBI Director Robert Mueller and attacked by U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party. Al-Megrahi’s reception was described as “highly objectionable” by President Barack Obama.
Visit Scotland, the government-funded agency promoting tourism, received e-mails from Americans saying they plan to cancel holidays and staff have been preparing for a backlash after the release of al-Megrahi, spokeswoman Alison Robb said. A Web site was set up to encourage people to boycott Scotland.
“There’s a great deal of disappointment and hurt among many people in the United States,” Salmond told Sky News in an interview today. “We understand that and recognize that, but the relationship is strong, enduring and deep and it can’t be based on us always finding agreement.”
The decision was taken under the rules of the Scottish justice system which, unlike the U.S., has grounds for compassionate release, Salmond added.
“Whether people believe our decisions were right or wrong, they were certainly made for the right reasons,” he said.
Parliament Recalled
The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh has been recalled and will hear a statement by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, a spokesman said.
The Labour Party, which lost elections to Salmond’s pro- independence Scottish National Party in 2007, will table a motion condemning the release, Scotland on Sunday reported.
The sight of Scottish flags being waved on al-Megrahi’s arrival in Libya “has damaged the reputation of Scotland, damaged our justice system and brought shame on our country,” former First Minister Jack McConnell of the Labour Party told the British Broadcasting Corp. today.
McConnell said the parliament should make clear the decision was not supported by the Scottish people. Brown, who met Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi last month, was criticized by the opposition Conservative Party for staying silent.
Tourist Money
Visitors from the U.S. accounted for 340,000 trips to Scotland in 2008 and spent 260 million pounds ($429 million) in the country, according to figures published by Visit Scotland. U.S. citizens account for 21 percent of spending by people from outside the U.K, the organization said.
A planned U.S. advertising campaign for the Highland Homecoming due to start next month will go ahead, Visit Scotland spokeswoman Robb said by telephone.
“We have had e-mails from people in America saying they’re going to cancel their holidays but have had no cancellations through our booking engine,” Robb said. “We have alerted our staff and made them aware of the situation.”
Al-Megrahi was sentenced in 2001 to serve 27 years for the 1988 killing of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Doctors estimated this month he had less than three months to live.
Under Scotland’s so-called devolution agreement that re- established the parliament in Edinburgh in 1999, Salmond’s government is responsible for the country’s justice system as well as such things as education and health.
To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net Last Updated: August 23, 2009 08:53 EDT

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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:28 pm

Whidden wrote:
Lodgebo,

let me ask you, do you agree with this thing that happened here, or are you just saying that good or bad, it's your (Scotland's) business?

Do I agree with the release? well I agree that we need to follow the law and the law says he had to be released. Would it be better if he stayed in jail of course but that was not an option. Not to sound to harsh and odnt take this the wrong but legally it is only Scotland business it's our priosner and a crime commited on our soil and tried under our laws, of course morally it has wider ramifications for a lot of people but the law isnt about morals.

Bad news is Scotland's going to lose some tourist money the next few weeks or months. Good news is, after a little time, tourism will come back. American's love Scotland. We love Ireland, Scotland, Australia and England. It's not really a racial thing, as we don't give a flip about France, Russia, or Germany. We kind of do, but not like we do you guys. I think it's more that we all speak English, although Austrailia, Ireland, Scotland and England speak it badly, us Yanks do it right. Southern Yanks that is.

Well people are entitled to do what they wish but considering what happend when Americans boycotted France I dont think tourist bosses will be to worried. I hope you do come back because a lot of American dont just like it here the history of thier ancestors is heres, heck the declaration of independnce was based on the scottish declaration of arbroath.

This will blow over in a few months, but right now, even the Liberals over here are ****ing pissed off at you guys. It's like we thought you had our back, and you sided with terrorist punks for reasons unknown.

woah now hang on 1 minute we do have your backs how many Scottish soldiers are in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting the war on terror? how many times has information gathered by Scottish police been shared between our security services to stop terrorism. Letting one guy go doesnt mean this country is a soft touch for terrorists. It's the last few words there Whidden for reasons unknown like I keep saying the reason is the law I dont expect you to undersand it because compassion isnt part of Americas law but I would ask you respect our legal system.

Showing compassion to some thug that whacks 200 plus people on a plane...we just don't see anyway to justify it in the real world, laws or no laws. We just can't put our minds around the concept.


Ok well let me ask you why did America push for the release of Irish terrorists in the good Friday agreement those people must have killed well over 200 people but Amerca pushed for thier release, and still nobody here wants to explain why it's ok to deal with Gaddaffi either why is that not seen as bad a what we had to do?

Anyway in case you missed it here is what Kenny Macaskill said regarding the release -
"Our beliefs dictate that justice be served but mercy be shown,"

"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated."
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PostSubject: Re: Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to Libya to die   Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:30 pm

[quote="HECK!"]It has to do with the several hundred American lives that were lost. It's not about telling other countries waht do to. That is far, far from the point. This isn't about the 'big bad' USA 'bullying' other countries, so let's pump the brakes on that.

Heck when Hilary Clinton makes 3 demands not requests that to me telling us what to do, also as soon as we go against her demands the FBI break protocol and let every news agency on the globe the details of what should have been a private letter.
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