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Lockerbie Bomber Gets Hero’s Welcome

From a conflicted Associated Press:

Lockerbie bomber freed, returns to cheers in Libya

By Tarek El-tablawy, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 21

TRIPOLI, Libya – The only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing returned home Thursday to a cheering crowd after his release from a Scottish prison — an outrage to many relatives of the 270 people who perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded.

President Barack Obama said the Scottish decision to free terminally ill Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds was a mistake and said he should be under house arrest. Obama warned Libya not to give him a hero’s welcome.

Despite the warning, thousands of young men were on hand at a Tripoli airport where al-Megrahi’s plane touched down. Some threw flower petals as he stepped from the plane. He wore a a dark suit and a burgundy tie and appeared visibly tired.

He was accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who was dressed in a traditional white robe and golden embroidered vest. The son pledged last year to bring al-Megrahi home and raised his hand victoriously to the crowd as he exited the plane. They then sped off in a convoy of white sedans.

International photographers and camera crews — along with most Libyan broadcast media — were barred from filming the arrival at the airport, which decades ago had been part of a U.S. air base…

At home, al-Megrahi, 57, is seen as an innocent scapegoat the West used to turn this African nation into a pariah. At the airport, some wore T-shirts with his picture and waved Libyan and miniature blue-and-white Scottish flags. Libyan songs blared in the background.

"It’s a great day for us," 24-year-old Abdel-Aal Mansour said. "He belongs here, at home."

Moammar Gadhafi lobbied hard for the return of al-Megrahi, an issue which took on an added sense of urgency when al-Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. He was recently given only months to live.

The former Libyan intelligence officer was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing on Dec. 21, 1988, and sentenced to life in prison for Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack. The airliner exploded over Scotland and all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when it crashed into the town of Lockerbie.

Al-Megrahi’s conviction was largely based on the testimony of a shopkeeper who identified him as having bought a man’s shirt in his store in Malta. Scraps of the garment were later found wrapped around a timing device discovered in the wreckage of the airliner. Critics of al-Megrahi’s conviction question the reliability of the store owner’s evidence.

He was sentenced to serve a minimum of 27 years in a Scottish prison. But a 2007 review of his case found grounds for an appeal, and many in Britain believe he is innocent. He served only eight years.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said although al-Megrahi had not shown compassion to his victims — many of whom were American college students flying home to New York for Christmas — MacAskill was motivated by Scottish values to show mercy.

"Some hurts can never heal, some scars can never fade," MacAskill said. "Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive … However, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

He added that he had ruled out sending the bomber back to Libya under a prisoner-transfer agreement, saying the U.S. victims had been given assurances that al-Megrahi would serve out his sentence in Scotland…

Among the Lockerbie victims was John Mulroy, the AP’s director of international communication, who died along with five members of his family.

Obviously the locals did not get Mr. Obama’s memo.

Or maybe they thought, since he is a fellow Muslim according to Mr. Gaddafi, that he was just saying things for effect.

[M]any in Britain believe he is innocent.

There is a rather large Muslim population in Britain now, is there not? Don’t they also believe that the 7/7 terrorists are hero martyrs, according to polls?

However, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

Is the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill daring to suggest that Allah does not approve of Mr. al-Megrahi’s holy act of jihad?

It sounds to us like Mr. MacAskill is begging for a fatwa.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 21st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “Lockerbie Bomber Gets Hero’s Welcome”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Oh how William Wallace would’ve cried.

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    Remember how Reagan dealt with Libya?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFves5XqBJU

    I miss the grown ups.

    • catie says:

      Me too!

    • Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

      Yeah, I was there RB. I crossed the “Line of Death”. When are people going to wake up and realize that the only thing these savages understand is brutal violence?

  3. canary says:

    I saw on news, and he sure looked robust and healthy, raising his arms high above his head in waves of victory in front of the crowd. Maybe they should check out the doctor that diagnosed him.

    • Reality Bytes says:

      Maybe they should take him & the rest of them out with a laser guided AGM-65 Maverick from one of our F117’s.

  4. beautyofreason says:

    “There is a rather large Muslim population in Britain now, is there not? Don’t they also believe that the 7/7 terrorists are hero martyrs, according to polls? ”

    I don’t understand the cognitive dissonance required to celebrate an atrocity while denying its provenance. Some Muslims passed out candy the day 9/11 occurred (most notably in Gaza), yet a majority in several Middle Eastern countries believe that Israel carried out the attacks. Most Muslims say they don’t like Al Qaeda nonetheless they’ll believe that Bush and “the West” attacked the towers and killed 3,000 of our own people. It’s nauseating – like Holocaust revisionism.

    A few years ago, I dated a man who had been raised as Muslim but was no longer practicing. He was living in the United States on a work visa from India and hoping to live here permanently. Yet his favorite public figure was an Islamic preacher who advocated Shariah law and the death penalty for apostasy. The same preacher denied that Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist. This ex also had a brochure on his table claiming that 9/11 was an inside job. I was out of there faster than you could say “should have known better.”

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Barry fakes rage over his release but wishes Islam a “Happy Ramadan” to all.
      What a piece of shiite he is!!

      Where was he on National Prayer Day?
      NOWHERE!!

      I believe America is “Wee-Wee’d” off!!

    • beautyofreason says:

      Right on, Liberals Demise. The President hides out during National Prayer Day and does not advocate Christianity in any way yet half of his speeches praise Islam and cite his role as president to “counteract negative Muslim stereotypes.” I don’t get it.

  5. pdsand says:

    So all this time and appeals on the basis that he didn’t do anything, why is he being treated as a hero if he didn’t do anything?

    • Eagle334th says:

      On that note, I’ve been wondering.. what were the people celebrating? His liberation as an innocent that has been wrongly held by the infidels, or as someone that massacred infidels and was held by the infidels, but released by infidels that might, possibly, want to be their friend, now?

  6. Eagle334th says:

    What’s up with the 99/99 on the aircraft?

  7. BillK says:

    A love note to terrorists from the Times of London:

    At home with the Lockerbie bomber

    By Martin Fletcher

    Is he the evil perpetrator of the deadliest terrorist attack in British history, or a sick old man, a loving father and grandfather, who has suffered a terrible miscarriage of justice? Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi put on a virtuoso performance when The Times came calling yesterday.

    His house, in the Dimachk area of Tripoli, was not hard to find. Policemen stood guard outside. The road was lined with the BMWs of smartly dressed friends and relatives who had come to pay their respects. The high outer walls were festooned with fairy lights and with pictures of the Lockerbie bomber as he looked when he left Libya more than a decade ago. In the garden stood a marquee where he had evidently been welcomed home the previous night.

    We sent in our business cards and waited, more in hope than expectation. But ten minutes later we were ushered into the spacious hall of the distinctly plush villa where chandeliers hung above a marble floor — a far cry from the Scottish prisons where al-Megrahi has spent the past eight years. His family bought the house a couple of years ago with help from the Libyan Government.

    The man himself was waiting in a reception room at the top of a wide and curving staircase; the curtains were drawn against the fierce afternoon sun and tropical fish swam in illuminated tanks.

    He looked weak and grey, far older than his 57 years and scarcely recognisable as the man I last saw at his trial in the Netherlands in 2001. He was supporting himself on a walking stick. Like everyone else he wore flowing Arab robes of spotless white — “not what I wore in prison”, he joked in a soft voice and fluent English. He was seeing us, he explained, “because you came to our house. It is our culture.”

    We sat on sofas. No tea was offered because it is Ramadan. To be free, he said, was “something amazing. I’m very, very happy.” When the doctors had told him he had just a few months left to live “this was my hope and wish — to be back with my family before I pass away . . . I always believed I would come back if justice prevailed”.

    His mother, 86, had not stopped crying, he said. “I told her, ‘You should laugh, not cry’. She doesn’t know I’m ill.” He asked us not to tell her.

    Engineers have rigged up a video link next to a large black plasma television so that al-Megrahi could talk to prison officers in Scotland every two weeks — one of the conditions of his release.

    As al-Megrahi was flying home in one of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s personal jets on Thursday, President Obama sought to add another condition. He said that al-Megrahi should live out his days under house arrest. Al-Megrahi laughed. “He knows I’m a very ill person. You know what kind of illness I have. The only place I have to go is the hospital for medical treatment. I’m not interested in going anywhere else. Don’t worry, Mr Obama — it’s just three months.

    He did not come across as bitter or angry but continued to insist on his innocence, as he has done from the day of his conviction. He abandoned his appeal, he said, not because he was guilty but to give himself the best possible chance of going home before he died. He had applied to be freed on compassionate grounds and also to be transferred to a Libyan prison under the terms of an agreement Britain and Libya signed in April. One of the conditions of the latter was that all legal proceedings had to be finished.

    He denied reports that he had been pressured to drop the appeal by a Scottish or British government terrified that such a hearing would expose a grave miscarriage of justice, but he added: “If there is justice in the UK I would be acquitted or the verdict would be quashed because it was unsafe. There was a miscarriage of justice.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article6806087.ece

    Wow… is there any doubt there are already scripts floating around Hollywood depicting what a loving, caring man he is and how it was Britain’s legal system that obviously railroaded him into a conviction?

    At least this killer of innocents will get to live out his life in the lap of luxury.

    Meanwhile, I suspect Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon are making their travel plans to Tripoli as I type…

    • Helena says:

      “Like everyone else he wore flowing Arab robes of spotless white — “not what I wore in prison”, he joked in a soft voice and fluent English. He was seeing us, he explained, “because you came to our house. It is our culture.”

      Gag me with a koran.

  8. Steve says:

    An update from Reuters:

    Gaddafi hugs Lockerbie bomber; Britain denies deal

    By Salah Sarrar and Luke Baker

    TRIPOLI/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain dismissed suggestions of a link between the Lockerbie bomber’s release and energy deals with Libya Saturday, after Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi embraced the man and thanked Britain.

    “The idea that the British government, the Libyan government, would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it all part of some business deal … it’s not only wrong, it’s completely implausible and actually quite offensive,” British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said.

    London and Washington have roundly condemned the “hero’s welcome” given to the dying Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on his return home after being freed from a life sentence in a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds.

    Gaddafi met Megrahi Friday, giving him a warm embrace and getting a kiss in return, expressed gratitude to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth and said their encouragement of Scotland to free him would improve ties.

    “This step is in the interest of relations between the two countries … and of the personal friendship between me and them and will be positively reflected for sure in all areas of cooperation between the two countries,” he told Libyan TV…

    http://tinyurl.com/l5bqaa


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