WASHINGTON–The White House “deeply regrets” the release by Scotland of the Libyan Pan Am Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the 1988 bombing killing 270 people. The Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill let him go on “compassionate grounds” because he is terminally ill with cancer. Scotland’s laws allow for compassionate release. The terrorist is flying back to Libya.
Over at the New Yorker, journalist Joseph Bernstein–whose father, Michael, was one of passengers on the plane–writes about the outrageous decision.
What do you think of Scottish justice?
White House statement:
The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi. Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which blew up over Scotland on December 21, 1988. As we have expressed repeatedly to officials of the government of the United Kingdom and to Scottish authorities, we continue to believe that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland. On this day, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who live every day with the loss of their loved ones. We recognize the effects of such a loss weigh upon a family forever.
Secretary of State Clinton, Attorney General Holder, the White House, and other U.S. government officials have had extensive contacts with their counterparts in Scotland and in the United Kingdom to emphasize that we do not support the release of Megrahi.