Outrage over Lockerbie bomber’s grand welcome
The jubilant welcome in Libya for the man convicted of the bombing of a US plane
over Lockerbie has been strongly condemned by Britain andthe US.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband described the scenes as “deeply distressing”.
Crowds greeted Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi off the plane in Tripoli after he was freed from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.
Many relatives of the victims of the 1988 bombing are angry at his release.
Most of the 270 people who died when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie were Americans.
US President Barack Obama said Megrahi’s release, eight years into his life sentence, was “a mistake”.
He said his administration had told the Libyan government that Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, should not receive a hero’s welcome and should be placed under house arrest.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the sight of Megrahi being welcomed in the Libyan capital was very disturbing for the families of those who died in the bombing.
“Obviously the sight of a mass murderer getting a hero’s welcome in Tripoli is deeply upsetting, deeply distressing,” he said.
Hundreds of people turned out to meet Megrahi’s plane as it landed in Tripoli, many waving flags. Eyewitnesses described it as a welcome worthy of a returning rock star.