Press Release

Gillibrand Statement on the Release of Lockerbie Bomber

Aug 20, 2009

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
released the following statement on the release of Abdel Basset Mohamed
al-Megrahi. Senator Gillibrand, along with her Senate colleagues, last week
wrote a letter to Scotland Justice Secretary Kenny Mackaskill urging that the
former Libyan intelligence agent continue serving his life sentence in

“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.”

The full letter from Senator
Gillibrand and her colleagues is below:

17, 2009

Secretary for Justice

MacAskill MSP


Andrew’s House



Dear Mr. MacAskill:

We are writing to express our concern about press reports that Abdel Basset
al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the 1988
Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, may soon be released from a Scottish
prison.  We believe he should remain in Scotland to complete his sentence
in prison. 

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, was an
attack on America and a horrific act of international terrorism resulting in
the deaths of 270 people, including 189 Americans.  Until the tragic
events of September 11, 2001, no terrorist act had killed more American

Recognizing the gravity of this heinous crime, the international community
demanded that the government of Libya turn the perpetrators over for
prosecution and accept responsibility for the crime.  In 1998, the
governments of the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland put forth a proposal to the government of Libya on the terms
of a trial by a Scottish court in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  In that proposal, both governments agreed
that if found guilty, the accused would serve their sentences in the United

In 2001, with the active participation of the U.S. Department of Justice,
Al-Megrahi was convicted of this terrorist crime in
a Scottish trial held in the
Netherlands.  Our international agreement called for his sentence
to be served in Scotland and we believe strongly there should be no deviation
from this sentence.  Officials of the United States government have
repeatedly made it clear that al-Megrahi should serve the entirety of his
sentence in a Scottish prison.  On August 13th, Assistant
Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley reiterated the view of our
government.  He said, “We have made our views clear to the UK government and
other authorities that we believe [Megrahi] should spend the rest of his time
in jail.”  We wholeheartedly agree.

We know that the Scottish government shares our commitment – and the world’s –
to support justice and oppose acts of terrorism. That is why we urge you to
ensure that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi serves the remainder of his sentence in
prison in Scotland.

With our respect and appreciation