Families angry over Lockerbie decision

August 20, 2009 3:03:45 PM PDT
Twenty years after he and others bombed Pan Am flight 103, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahee used a cane to climb the steps to a plane that would take him home a free man. For family members of the victims, he was once again rubbing salt in the wound.

Kathleen Flynn's son, JP, was flying home for the holidays when the plane exploded.

"You don't allow someone who has murdered, you know, pre-meditated murder, of 270 people and let them walk away," Flynn said.

But that's exactly what she believes Scottish authorities did by allowing the only man ever convicted in the attack to go home to Libya.

The former Libyan intelligence agent is dying of prostate cancer. He has been granted a quote "compassionate release". The Scottish official who made the controversial call is not backing down.

"We followed due process; and that is my decision," Scotish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said.

"This is not fair to the families," said Stan Maslowski, whose 30-year-old daughter Diane was returning from London for Christmas when Flight 103 went down on Dec. 21, 1988. "This shows a terrorist can get away with murder."

Maslowski and his wife, Norma, turned on the TV at their Haddonfield, New Jersey home to watch the developments with Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. "You get that lump in your throat and you feel like you're going to throw up," Norma Maslowski said.

"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.

"Lockerbie looks like it never happened now - there isn't anybody in prison for it."

It is a decision President Obama calls a mistake. In a radio interview at the white house he weighed in on the issue.

"We have been in contact with the Scottish government indicating that we objected to this," he said. "We're now in contact with the Libyan government and want to make sure that if in fact this transfer has taken place that he's not welcomed back in some way but instead should be under house arrest."

But some victim's families disagree. Instead they support the decision.

British relatives of the Lockerbie dead have doubts about his guilt in the first place.

"I think it would be inhumane, in fact, downright cruel to keep the man in prison to die," Jim Swire, the father of a victim, said.


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