Sen. Schumer wants Lockerbie bomber back in Scottish prison

Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the terminally ill Libyan bomber released last summer has lived longer than the three months upon which his release was contingent.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the 1988 bombing that killed 270 people, received a “compassionate” release in August due to his terminal prostate cancer, which health officials predicted gave him three months to live. He had served eight years of a 27-year sentence.


Britain and the United States were outraged when al-Megrahi returned to a hero’s welcome in Libya. Media broadcasts showed him greeted by throngs of supporters, infuriating American and Scottish politicians.

“The bottom line is Megrahi should have never been released in the first place, but it would be even more outrageous if he were to be able to live a long and free life after his release,” Schumer said in a statement on Thursday.

Schumer asked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in writing to transfer al-Megrahi back to the Scottish prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence. But it is unclear how Brown would dictate that Libya send al-Megrahi back to Scotland.

“The victims of Pan Am Flight 103 didn’t get a second chance at life and neither should Megrahi. Justice in this case was life in prison, no exceptions,” Schumer said in a statement.

Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in an act that killed 180 Americans. The former Libyan intelligence officer was found responsible, and ordered to serve his sentence in a Scottish prison as part of an international agreement.

Al-Megrahi was checked into a local hospital in Tripoli upon his return to Libya, where he received a series of chemotherapy treatments.

Earlier this month, local media outlets reported that he had been released from the hospital and is living at his family’s villa with a police guard posted outside.