Updated 08/21/2009 06:03 AM
Lockerbie bomber released from prison
It was an attack that signaled a new era in terrorism. A bombing of a jetliner with hundreds dead, many with ties to Upstate New York. More than two decades later, a major development in the case. Our Bill Carey says the man held responsible for the attack, has been set free.
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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND --TThe faces. The last reminders of an act of terror in the skies over Scotland more than 20 years ago, 270 faces. Average age 27.
There were claims of international plots, but in the end, the only justice delivered to the families of those who died would be the conviction of a lone Libyan intelligence agent. Abdel basset Al Megrahi would be sentenced to life in prison. Now, the families have seen that last shred of justice disappear.
A decision by Scotland to free the one man found guilty of the terror attack at Lockerbie.
“Abdel bassett Ali Mahmet Al Megrahi, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and be allowed to return to Libya to die,” said Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill.
In the U.S., there were loud protests. President Barack Obama calling Megrahi's release a mistake. His Secretary of State voicing a similar theme.
“I take this very personally because there was a large contingent from Syracuse University. So, during the time that I had the great honor of representing New York, I knew a lot of these families,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Nearly three dozen of those who died shared a connection to an overseas college program based in Syracuse.
Syracuse University says, all along, it wanted to see justice served. In a statement now, it calls the Scottish government's actions "deeply disappointing."
The deepest reaction, as might be expected, though, was among those who lost loved ones in the Lockerbie attack.
“Where is the justice? Megrahi was the only person who was found guilty for this. So now there's nobody. There's not only not a shred of justice, there's no sign Lockerbie ever happened,” said Sue Cohen, a mother of a Pan Am victim.
The families struggle now to make sure those faces and names are not forgotten.