Libyans Celebrate Bomber's Early Release

August 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The release of a Libyan terrorist convicted in the 1988 Pan-Am Lockerbie bombing is getting a strong reaction from victims' families as Libyans celebrate the bomber's early release.Scenes of celebration greeted the man convicted of 270 counts of murder in the 1988 Pan Am flight 103 bombing.

Abdel Basset Al Megrahi returned to Libya a free man and feted by a small crowd. Despite requests by the U.S. and British governments that he should not be given a hero's welcome, stricken with terminal cancer, Megrahi was granted a compassionate release Thursday by Scotland's justice chief, Kenny Macaskill. "Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown."

But for some of the relatives of the victims, mercy was proving difficult to comprehend. "This man is one of the people responsible for the largest mass murder on British soil and for him to be released is something that I really have a hard time understanding," said victim's relative Stephanie Bernstein.

The 1988 Pan Am flight 103 bombing over the town of Lockerbie has been an enormous burden for the victims' families. Techinally Megrahi has only served just under 2 weeks for every victim of this disaster.

President Obama echoed the frustration felt by the relatives, calling Megrahi's release a mistake. "We've also obviously been in contact with the families of the Pan Am victims and indicated to them that we don't think this was appropriate."

The Libyans are seeing Megrahi's release a turned page in relations for their country with Britain and the U.S. but for the relatives of the victims, they are still left without a promise of a full investigation as to what happened aboard Pan Am flight 103.

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