Accessibility links

US Wants Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Back in Prison


The Obama administration is calling for the reimprisonment of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Libyan who was convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, but released from jail last year.

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Friday that the United States has expressed its "strong conviction" that al-Megrahi serve out the remainder of his sentence in a Scottish prison.

Brennan said Scotland's decision to release al-Megrahi last year was "unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong." Brennan made his comments on the first anniversary of al-Megrahi's release.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement saying the United States continues to "categorically disagree" with Scotland's decision.

In 2001, al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the bombing that killed 259 people on board, mostly Americans, and 11 others on the ground. In August of last year, Scotland freed him on compassionate grounds after he served eight years of his sentence.

Scottish officials say they made the decision in good faith, based on medical experts who said he was dying of prostate cancer and had just months to live. The former intelligence officer returned to Libya to a hero's welcome and is still alive. Al-Megrahi has always maintained his innocence.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers say families of the victims will continue to suffer until Libyan officials provide more details on why al-Megrahi was freed.

British authorities, meanwhile, urged Libya not to celebrate the anniversary, warning it would be insensitive and offensive to families of the victims.

The anniversary passed quietly in Libya Friday. Al-Megrahi's brother told the Reuters news agency that the Libyan government instructed the family to remain quiet.

Separately, British energy giant BP has acknowledged it discussed a prisoner-transfer agreement with government officials in London and Tripoli three years ago. BP says it was trying to protect a billion-dollar oil deal with the Libyan government, but that al-Megrahi was not part of the agreement.

Scottish government officials say they had no contact with BP before they decided to free al-Megrahi.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG