Romney Calls on New Libyan Government to Extradite Pan Am Flight 103 Bomber
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts and a Republican candidate during the U.S. presidential election in November 2012, made the remarks as the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared to have entered its final hour.
“The world is about to be rid of Muammar Gaddafi, the brutal tyrant who terrorized the Libyan people,” Romney said on Monday. “It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”
Romney added: “As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done.”
Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for carrying out the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed in the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people. He was released in August 2009 from a Scottish prison on ‘compassionate grounds’ after doctors claimed he had only several months to live.
But the decision to release Megrahi was met with anger in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries, while celebrations broke out in Libya when Megrahi returned to live there.
British Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Halfon also told the UK’s Press Association (PA) on Monday that Megrahi should be brought back to Britain if Gaddafi’s regime falls. “We should make every effort to bring him back so he can spend the rest of his time in prison where he belongs,” Halfton said. “Or he should spend the rest of his life in a Libyan jail, or be extradited to the U.S.”
Last week, a spokesman for Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond again defended the decision to release Megrahi, saying it was done on compassionate grounds alone and not influenced by politics. “Whether people support or oppose the decision, it was made following the due process of Scots law, we stand by it, and al-Megrahi is dying of terminal prostate cancer,” the spokesman said.
Earlier this year, former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had evidence that Gaddafi was the person who gave the order to bomb Pan Am Flight 103, which was on a daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London Heathrow Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
“I have evidence that Gaddafi ordered the Lockerbie bombing,” Al-Jleil was cited as saying by Expressen in February, without giving other details. “To hide this, he did everything in his power to get Megrahi back from Scotland.”