US senators, Lockberbie families demand truth on bomber

26th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Two US senators and relatives of people killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing demanded Monday to know whether pressure from oil giant BP led to the release of the Libyan man convicted in the crime.

"We are pushing very hard to get transparency, to get the facts. We want to know whether or not this was a deal to trade oil," Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic senator from New York state, said in New York City's Times Square.

The release last year of Abdelbaset Ali Mohment al-Megrahi, the sole person convicted in the Pan Am airliner bombing over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, in which 270 people died, was ordered because he was diagnosed as suffering from terminal cancer.

But despite having been told he had only three months to live, Megrahi remains alive and allegations are now being made that a deal was cut with Libya to return him in exchange for opening the country to BP.

"We need to know what evidence was given that he was about to die," Gillibrand said.

Also present at Times Square was Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who will chair a hearing this week on the controversy.

"We need to know the truth," said Mary Kay Stratis, who lost her husband in the plane.

Brian Flynn, whose brother died in the terrorist act, accused Britain, "our strongest ally" of having "betrayed us."

© 2010 AFP

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