The Scottish government released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, back to his home in Libya. Two hundred forty-three people aboard the plane—189 of them Americans, many from NY and NJ—were killed while 11 people on the ground died when the NY-bound jet exploded on December 21, 1988. al-Megrahi, sentenced to life amid his claims of innocence, is suffering from terminal prostate cancer. Scottish Justice Kenny MacAskill Secretary said, "Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or 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 U.S. condemned the decision; Senator John Kerrey said, "The news today from Glasgow turned the word ’compassion’ on its head." Perinton, NY resident Paul Halsch, whose 31-year-old wife was killed, let the Daily News know how he feels, "This might sound crude or blunt, but I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was ... and that would be in a box."