Friday, 2 September 2011

Clinton: NTC must deal with Lockerbie bomber

[This is the headline over a report (based on news agency material) published today on the Aljazeera website. It reads in part:]

Libyan opposition leaders must deal with the case of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said.

In a meeting with senior members of Libya's National Transitional Council in Paris on Thursday, Clinton said the US would be watching closely how the case was handled. (...)

"The United States categorically disagrees with the decision that was made two years ago by the Scottish executive to release al-Megrahi and return him to Libya," Clinton told reporters.

"We have never wavered from our disagreement and condemnation of that decision. He should be behind bars."

In her meetings, Clinton made clear to Libyan opposition leaders Mustafa Abdul-Jalil and Mahmoud Jibril that the US believed al-Megrahi should never have been freed.

His return to a hero's welcome in Muammar Gaddafi's Libya remains problematic, US officials said.

Clinton said the US also was seeking the Libyan interim government's assistance for more information about possible accomplices in the planning or execution of the bombing in December 1988.

Al-Megrahi, a staunch Gaddafi supporter, is now reported to be near death at his home in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

The NTC says it will not deport him even though Chuck Schumer, a US senator, has asked Clinton to make the release of billions of dollars in frozen assets from the Gaddafi government contingent on al-Megrahi's return to jail.

The US state department said on Wednesday that Clinton would press the opposition on the case, but would not link it to the assets, given the immediate priorities such as securing and stabilising Libya.

[The official US State Department transcript of the press briefing from which the above report -- and others like it in the media today -- is taken can be read here. The questions on Megrahi from the press and the answers from "Senior State Department Official One" (who is presumably Hillary Clinton herself) clearly indicate -- at least to me -- that the State Department is relaxed about him, but is having to jump up and down a bit for public consumption and because of congressional pressure.]


  1. If they do get him to the US we should not redact the SCCRC report - quid pro quo, Clinton.

  2. It shouldn't be redacted at all, Blogiston. Lets hope that the redacting doesn't obliterate the central message of the report nor the issues which the SCCRC uncovered.