US says Lockerbie bomber's freedom an 'affront'

12th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States said Monday that the Lockerbie bomber's life as a free man in Libya was an "affront" to the victims of the tragedy that claimed 270 lives.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, was released in August last year on health reasons despite vehement US opposition.

"Every day that he lives as a free man, we think is an affront to the families of and victims of Pan Am 103," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

The Scottish government allowed the Libyan to return home on compassionate grounds after a diagnosis that he would live just a matter of months.

But a recent report said that he may live for 10 years or longer.

"There was an expectation that he was on death's door. And that has not yet come to pass," Crowley said.

The four US senators from New York and New Jersey, from where many of the Lockerbie victims hailed, have urged Scotland to reinvestigate its decision and asked the State Department to press Britain to seek Megrahi's return.

"The families of the 270 people who were murdered have already once lived through an unthinkable, real-life horror story. It's as if they now are being forced to live through a sequel," said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York.

"They believed that justice had found the man who killed their loved ones, only to see that the system was rigged and that this terrorist is having the last laugh," Schumer said.

© 2010 AFP

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