U.S. lawmakers blast Libyan rebels on Lockerbie bomber issue
Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi with his mother in Tripoli, Libya
August 31st, 2011
06:23 PM ET

U.S. lawmakers blast Libyan rebels on Lockerbie bomber issue

CNN's Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

Even as Libyan rebels struggle to gain control of the country, some U.S. lawmakers are demanding the United States punish the rebel leadership unless they turn over the Lockerbie bomber.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, on Wednesday called on the State Department to condition further assistance to the rebel National Transitional Council, including access to frozen Libyan assets, upon the return to prison of Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.

Schumer made the demand in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she prepared to leave for Paris to attend an international conference to discuss ways to help the Libyan opposition.

"If the new Libyan government continues to shield this convicted terrorist from justice, then they should not get one more cent of support from the United States," Schumer wrote. "We put American lives and money on the line to help the Libyan people secure their freedom. It's time the Libyan government lives up to its commitment to create a free and accountable society by handing over al Megrahi so that justice can finally be done."

On Tuesday, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, urged Clinton to demand access to al Megrahi so he could be questioned.

"Given that we have been told before that Megrahi was near death when he actually was not," Menendez wrote, "I urge you to call on the (NTC) to allow American and international officials access to Megrahi immediately in order to conduct an independent assessment of his health status."

Last week, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called on the "new government" to arrest and extradite al Megrahi "so justice can finally be done."

Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed when the Boeing 747, bound for New York from London, crashed in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Scotland's justice minister granted al Megrahi an early release in August 2009 after his attorneys and Scottish authorities said he was dying of cancer and only had three months to live.

He received a hero's welcome in Tripoli, enraging many in the United States and Britain. And with the recent overthrow of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for al Megrahi to be sent back to prison.

Earlier this week, CNN's Nic Robertson found al Megrahi under the care of his family in his palatial Tripoli villa. He was bedridden, comatose, and surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Siva

    denise costAs a hospice nurse, I, too, am often caleld upon to prognosticate. If there is a doctor handy , I defer to him or her. Most of the time these requests come from family members of dying patients who want to know how long the dying process will take. I can't remember ever being direct with a patient about a time line, and I have great empathy for physicians who must do this. I agree with Nicholas Christakis that there is a duty to prognosticate, and was surprised to learn about the trend in medical education away from including prognosis in the study of disease states. Of course, in hospice care, we doctors and nurses have an advantage because it has all ready been acknowledged that the patient IS in fact going to die soon or is dying right now. Even then, we are asked when? , and it is still a hard question to answer. Hope does spring eternal and in seemingly the most unlikely places. There is, for example the family of a 102 year old frail, somewhat demented and obviously suffering elder, who are anxious that every small crisis spells the end. And I have seen very sick and very very old people [90-105] live week after week and month after month and even year after year, on hospice care, subsisting on next to nothing except ensure and the ministrations of nursing aides. It is truly amazing. We find ourselves wrong often enough that we tend to hedge our answers at the next inquiry.I have come to the conclusion that we just don't die like we used to. It's really hard to die in our present culture and medical environment. My experience particularly with the elderly, is that they get treated with procedures,IV's, antibiotics and other medications, and they are pulled through the kinds of illnesses like pneumonia, strokes, MI's and metabolic crises that used to kill people. It's a new world of medical care and it's here to stay. Prognosticating needs to evolve along with the medical advances and discoveries of the time. Thank you, John Schumann, for developing this very fine website. I am enjoying the thoughts and ideas found here and will share this with my nursing and medical colleagues.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply

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