Updated 08/21/2009 05:59 AM
Sister of Lockerbie victim outraged over release
A Queensbury man was flying home from an Air Force base to see his dying mother on the night of December 21st, 1988 when a bomb went off in the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland. Now the man's sister says their family is outraged the bomber is being released. Our North Country Reporter, Kim Lengle, has the story.
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QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- The news that Scottish officials released the Lockerbie bomber reopened some deep wounds for relatives of a Queensbury native.
"They literally had to take somebody off the plane to put him on the plane," said Phyllis Cleveland, whose brother died in the bombing.
Edgar Eggleston wasn't supposed to be on Pan Am Flight 103.
"It still feels like yesterday that all this happened," said Cleveland.
And now with the release of the bomber, Abdel basset al Megrahi, Cleveland says she's forced to relive that moment over and over again. Cleveland's brother Edgar, a staff sergeant in the Air Force was coming home to see their dying mother. Her family got the news in her mother's hospital room.
"Those moments will just, you'll never forget. It was devastating for everyone. It took us a little bit before we were able to go back in the room with mom and we all swore that we wouldn't mention it in there because we didn't want her to know." said Cleveland.
But it's something Cleveland lives every day. So when she heard that Megrahi was seeking release, she mounted a campaign and contacted every senator across the country.
"I did get some responses back, but it is sad to say that the responses I did get back were to say that, because I didn't live in that state, they couldn't help me,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland says she is comforted by the fact that Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were two of seven who tried to block the release. But she says it doesn't bring back the 270 people who died.
"Their memory lives on in us though," said Cleveland.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer both said the bomber should not have been freed.
Cleveland says she wants to thank all the friends and neighbors who have helped her through this and who have written to their legislators.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement, “My prayers are with the families of Pan Am Flight 103 today as they are forced to relive the horrific loss of their loved ones. We, in the United States, oppose the decision by the Scottish Government today to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi. Justice is not being served. Mergrahi should serve his full sentence and spend the rest of his days in prison.”
In a statement, Senator Charles Schumer's said, “The victims’ families have had no peace since the day this evil act occurred. It is not appropriate to let free someone who committed one of the most awful deeds of the last half-century.”