Press Release

Senate Passes Resolution Condemning Release And ‘Welcome Home’ Celebration For Libya’s Notorious Lockerbie Terrorist

Sep 23, 2009

Washington, DC -United
States Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.),
Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today announced
that the Senate has approved their Senate resolution condemning the
release and vile “welcome home” celebration held for Libyan terrorist
and convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.  Al-Megrahi was
released by the Scottish Government on August 20 after serving eight
years in prison for the 1988 attack on Pan Am Flight 103, which killed
all 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground in the town of
Lockerbie, Scotland.  The Scottish Government claimed the release was a
compassionate gesture given al-Megrahi’s failing health.

victims’ families have had no peace since the day this evil act
occurred and now their wounds have been reopened,” said Schumer. “The
hero’s welcome Libya gave to this terrorist truly shocks the conscience
and deserves a formal rebuke. It is outrageous that the Libyan
Government would so blatantly disregard the suffering the families have
endured for more than two decades. We demand an apology for the gross
homecoming celebration of al-Megrahi.”

of this resolution in the Senate sends a powerful message to the Libyan
government and officially condemns acts of compassion shown to
terrorists-especially those who have killed Americans.” stated Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg.  “The
sick celebration when Mr. al-Megrahi landed in Libya added insult to
injury for the American victims of Qaddafi’s terrorism.  Mr.
al-Megrahi’s release by the Scottish government was painful enough for
the victims of Libya’s terrorism, but to see such a celebration for a
murderer was a shocking insult to decency.”

Menendez said: “It was a slap in the face for the victims’ families to
see the man who helped destroy the airplane carrying their loved ones
arrive in a private jet to a jubilant hero’s welcome in Libya. There is
nothing that can be done to bring back 270 innocent people, but the
very least Gaddafi should do while he is on American soil is to
sincerely apologize to the families for providing insult to injury. The
Senate made a strong statement today, and Gaddafi should listen.”

Khadafy is an unwelcome presence in New York City. His government’s
sponsorship of a “Welcome Home” ceremony for a convicted terrorist was
a low point for the global community’s efforts to promote peace and
combat terror. The families of Pan Am Flight 103 were forced to relive
the horrific loss of their loved ones, while the man who was
responsible was welcomed home a hero. The government of Libya should
apologize to these families,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, enroute from London’s Healthrow
Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, exploded
over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board and 11
people on the ground.  Many NewYorkers and New Jersey residents were
among the 189 Americans killed in the bombing.  In 2001, Abdel Baset
al-Megrahi was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

August 20, the Scottish Government released al-Megrahi, who is
currently suffering from prostate cancer and is predicted to have three
months to live.  Upon his return, thousands of young men, who had been
transported by the Libyan government, gathered at the airport in
Tripoli to greet the terrorist.  They waved banners and threw flower
petals after al-Megrahi was escorted from prison by Seif al-Islam
el-Qaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi.