Tuesday, 18 October 2011

US Secretary of State to raise Lockerbie during Libya visit

[A report published this evening on the Fox News website reads in part:]

The Obama administration on Tuesday increased US support for Libya's new leaders as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made an unannounced visit to Tripoli and pledged millions of dollars in new aid, including medical care for wounded fighters and additional assistance to secure weaponry that many fear could fall into the hands of terrorists. (...)

Officials said Clinton would also raise the case of the Lockerbie bombing with Libyan officials. Last month, Scotland asked Libya's new authorities to help track down those responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town. It killed 270 people, most of them American.

The only person charged with the bombing -- former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi -- was freed on compassionate grounds in 2009 because of illness. His release infuriated the families of many Lockerbie victims.

The US officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Clinton's public events in Tripoli, which also were to include meetings with civic leaders that have been kept secret for security reasons.

[A news agency report published on the website of The Sydney Morning Herald contains the following:] 

The case also came up of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only man convicted for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet that killed 270 people when it blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Megrahi, who was said to have terminal cancer, was released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds in August 2009 and said to have only three months left to live.

Clinton was asked if Megrahi, who is still alive and in Libya, should go back to jail. Rather than answer the question directly, she said: "I have said many times he should never been released."

She added that the US "will continue to pursue justice" on behalf of the Lockerbie victims.

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