After the Scottish government released him on "compassionate" grounds, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was greeted like a hero in Tripoli, Libya, much to the dismay of U.S. and British governments. al-Megrahi was convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; 270 were killed, 189 of them Americans. President Obama had said yesterday that al-Megrahi's release was a "mistake" and added, "We are now in contact with the Libyan government, and want to make sure that if in fact this transfer has taken place, he is not welcomed back in some way but instead should be under house arrest." However, as CNN described, "al Megrahi walked off a plane in his native country to a cheering crowd that waved flags and honked horns."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had also asked that al Merahi not be given a hero's welcome and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, "Obviously, the sight of a mass murderer getting a hero's welcome in Tripoli is deeply upsetting, deeply distressing...I find it deeply distressing of course, as well." Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, noting al Megrahi's terminal prostate cancer relative to his life sentence, said that while the convicted bomber had not shown his victims compassion, "But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days...Our justice system demands that judgement be imposed, but compassion be available."
The American relatives of victims are upset. NJ resident Susan Cohen, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora died, said, For the families we have this thing that is so horrible to live with anyway, and now we have to live with this." And Paul Hudson, former chief attorney for the New York crime victims court whose 16-year-old daughter Melina died, told the Daily Times that it was a "miscarriage of justice at the highest level... Prostate cancer in the U.S. has about a 90 percent survival rate. Whether he’s at death’s door or not is a really open for questions. Allowing him to be released is a really major blow to finding out the full story of this mass murder conspiracy."