America

Obama Wants Libyans To Return Lockerbie Bomber To Prison

Al-Megrahi

Libyans surround the convoy of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on his return to Tripoli, Aug. 20, 2009. Amr Nabil/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Amr Nabil/AP

The Obama Administration is asking Libya to return the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, to a Scottish prison.

The move comes amid continuing protests ever since the Scottish government's compassionate release last year of al-Megrahi when it was thought he had mere weeks to live due to terminal cancer.

But at last report, al-Megrahi was still very much alive. He was the only person ever convicted for the December 21, 1988 bombing of a Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people, mostly Americans.

The Associated Press reports:

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, told reporters Friday the U.S. has "expressed our strong conviction" to Libyan officials that Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi should not remain free.

Al-Megrahi was received home in Libya last year like a conquering hero. So it would seem unlikely that the Libyans would return him into the hands of Scottish authorities for reimprisonment.

Scottish officials have maintained that the decision to release al-Megrahi was based on strict medical and compassionate reasons.

But some congressional critics of the decision have wondered if there were other reasons.

For instance, some U.S. lawmakers have wondered aloud if the energy giant BP lobbied United Kingdom officials for al-Megrahi's release in order to gain access to Libyan oil fields.

BP and United Kingdom officials have rejected such charges.

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