Obama administration urges return to prison for Lockerbie bomber

Obama administration urges return to prison for Lockerbie bomber

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[JURIST] The Obama administration on Friday urged Libyan authorities to return convicted Pan Am Flight 103 [BBC backgrounder] bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to a Scottish prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton [official website] released a statement explaining the US position [text] on al Megrahi’s situation:

The United States continues to categorically disagree with the decision made by the Scottish Executive to release al-Megrahi and return him to Libya last year. As we have expressed repeatedly to Scottish authorities, we maintain that al-Megrahi should serve out the entirety of his sentence in prison in Scotland. We have and will continue to reiterate this position to the Scottish and Libyan authorities.

During a press briefing, Assistant to The President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan [WP profile] briefing also condemned [press briefing] al Megrahi’s release and extended condolences to the victims’ families. The announcements come one year after al Megrahi was released [JURIST report] from prison on compassionate grounds because doctors predicted he only had three months to live. Al Megrahi was then returned to his native Libya, where he is sill living, and experts have suggested that he could continue living for a year or more [Daily Mail report].

Earlier this month, the opposition Scottish Labour Party [party website] called for the publication of all medical evidence [JURIST report] related to al Megrahi’s release. Last month, US lawmakers called for an investigation [JURIST report] into the role that oil company British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] may have played in al Megrahi’s release. Al Megrahi’s release was controversial, with both US officials and the Scottish Parliament [JURIST reports] condemning it. Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the Pan Am bombing and sentenced to 27 years in prison, which he subsequently appealed. Libya made its final compensation payment [JURIST report] to a US fund for victims’ families in November 2008 after agreeing to accept responsibility for the 1988 airline bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed all 259 on board [memorial website] including 180 Americans.