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August 20th, 2009
08:54 PM ET

Flynn: "Don't dishonor Lockerbie victims"

Program Note: Tonight we'll be covering the release of the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. He was freed from prison and sent home to Libya on "compassionate grounds." Brian Flynn, whose brother was killed in the attack, will be on tonight. 10 p.m. ET.

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, 57, boards a plane after his release from prison.

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, 57, boards a plane after his release from prison.

Brian Flynn
For The Guardian

Imagine if one of the September 11 hijackers had lived, that he was fairly tried, convicted and sentenced to a lengthy jail term. Then, after just a few years, under an agreement with the Afghan government, we sent him back to serve out his term with the Taliban under Osama bin Laden.

Although it seems almost impossible, a painfully similar scenario is playing out in the Scotland. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – the terrorist convicted in the Lockerbie bombing – may soon be released by the Scottish government and handed over to Libya, the very government that plotted this cowardly mass murder.

The evidence against Megrahi is overwhelming and has withstood more than two fervent appeals. He was a member of Libyan intelligence travelling under a false passport to Malta on the day of the bombing, and lied about it more than once. Any rational person reviewing the evidence would conclude that Megrahi is guilty. Even more damning, the court's conviction clearly stated that Megrahi committed the murder for "furtherance of Libyan intelligence". There has been no regime change or democratic revolution. And yet the Scottish government is eager to return this murderer to his dictator – Muammar Gaddafi – a man who has gone on the record as hating all things western.

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soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    CNN needs to interview the idiot who decided to release a mass murderer. Grill him good.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  2. Steph

    This is disgraceful. And that numb nut did not look too sick to me. My guess is that he'll live a few more comfortable years in his home country with his family, and be the toast of the town for what he did but denies doing. He'll burn forever at the very end.

    August 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  3. Anorld

    Media you be strong the popularity of Bush in the pool for the election of 2004 now it's new for you politics of fear you talk my god you be strong is not politics of fear it's the politic of untruth for keeping their job untruth on the war in Iraq in 2003 untruth on economy in 2008 untruth on health care now untruth for all just for their pocket

    August 21, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  4. ronvan

    This "animal" should have died in his cell with no visitors! Then, just as expected, when he gets home he is treated as a national hero. Again, just shows that we are being to easy with these countries! While we continue to try and change their "beliefs" about westerners, they continue to raise their children to hate and destroy us. Sometimes the "good guys" have to get ugly & downright dirty to deal with your enemies.

    August 21, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  5. rehanna ali

    Mr Megrahi maybe guilty, at this point only God knows. I beleive the bigger question is when do the Gaddafis (all of them) pay for the mudering of 1200 people at the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli? Who compensates the Libyan families for their missing and most of them killed children? Based on this release.............I'd say NOONE! As long as there is oil (revenues enjoyed only by the Gaddafis) there will never be justice.

    August 21, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  6. john jones

    Gaddafi 's son has a house in london say no more

    August 21, 2009 at 7:26 am |
  7. Isabel Rodgers

    Mr Flynn, I watched your interview with Anderson (August 20) and I can assure you that the Scottish people (certainly the ones I have spoken with) are appalled by the release of this person. The SNP government have made a grave mistake in releasing Megrahi. A man who can show so little regard for other human beings deserves no compassion. I have voted SNP in the past and shall never do so again, it broke my heart to see our Saltire flag flying to welcome this murderer home. I can't speak for all Scots, but I am deeply sorry that a government I helped vote into power has done this.

    Isabe Rodgers

    August 21, 2009 at 6:07 am |
  8. Shane Muir

    Did anyone else notice that in Wolf Blitzer's interview with Kenny MacAskill that he did not even have the respect to know or at least say correctly the date of the Bombing he mentioned twice the year of the bombing as being 1998 when of course it was December 21 1988. Wow who out this guy in charge?

    August 21, 2009 at 3:12 am |
  9. Willard

    The British and or The USA must have someone in a Libyan jail. The British and or USA need them back in there country to get information.

    August 21, 2009 at 2:58 am |
  10. David

    I don't believe this compassion excuse. This is not how the British Govt behaves!! Brian Flynn is correct that this would be unthinkable and Scotland is not known for being soft on criminals. The fact that this release had the condition attached that he would drop any further appeals is very significant. I understand Mr Flynns pain, but the fact is that the evidence against Megrahi is far from being solid, and I suspect that Scotland was facing the nightmare of Megrahi possibly winning his next appeal. Libya has said that if Megrahi won his appeal, they would consider fiing a legal claim to recover the $2bn paid to the victims families. This is clearly a tactical move by the UK to avoid that nightmare scenario, and the compassionate release is a very convenient excuse.

    August 21, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  11. Michele Z.

    Disgusting! He didn't have any compassion for the people he blew out of the sky! I think Scotland should be ashamed for letting this man out. He should have spent his last days dying in prison!

    August 21, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  12. Laurie Axford

    Horrified and sickened.
    I am very sorry for Brian and his family. I was living in Germany in 88 and had my little 12 year old sister coming to visit the absolute day after this tragedy. It was frightening and awful. My family has never forgotten Lockerbie and all those innocent lives that were lost on that cold December day.
    My sincere thoughts as this monster, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is released. Someday, he will get his judgement. This I know for sure.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  13. R V Pratt

    I believe the *overwhelming* response to this travesty of justice has been clear and I would voice my support. Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is the one who is misguided and acted stupidly, ignoring the inputs, feelings, and advice of ALL around him. He is the problem!!! He cited compassion as the reason for releasing the mass murderer, yet compassion had already been shown Megrahi via hismedical treatment while in prison. Could not Macaskill have let the Megrahi family come from Libya to visit him in prison - would that not have been compassionate?
    I hope everyone around the world will take time to forever share the name Macaskill with others as being willingly associated with an incompassionate mass murderer. I wish the worst for Macaskill.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  14. Jenny Leclerk

    The west is sooo dumb! sooo sooo dumb! If you keep acting like the Scots did by releasing the murderer, the savage, the libyan animal.... Your have no future.... The west as you know it will cease to exist!! This is not a joke! It seems you guys are sleeping or just plain idiots! WAKE UP !!! WAKE UP!!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  15. AML

    Is it possible that Scotland has been threatened by Libya to return this murderer and that their government is acting out of fear? Once a terrorist, always a terrorist.

    August 21, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  16. Chester Dickerson

    Releasing convicted terrorists, whether dying or not, sends the wrong message to those American Soldiers who are being killed fighting the wars to put a stop to terrorism. It should not be permitted ever in any country!!

    August 21, 2009 at 12:40 am |
  17. Connie

    SHOCKING! Seems someone just needs to get sick and their prison sentence doesn't mean jack any more...aka Susan Adkins.

    These people coldy murdered! Where was the mercy
    THEN??

    August 21, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  18. OldFriend

    Brian.
    The news of this convicted man's release, even in the context of compassion, is very distressing and disrespectful to the victims and their families. When the event occurred in 1988, the outcry from the UK/Scotland and the US was intense. It is disappointing to see that with passing of a mere 21 years, the outrange and horror of the event seems to have been forgotten by some.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I personally knew JP in collage as a frat brother. He was a leader with style, good humor and a sense of responsibility. You could always count on him. It is sad that you and other victim families need to relive this event is such a way.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  19. REally?

    Where is the outrage when thousands of US war veterans have returned from wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, they are given a hero"s welcome. Wait, you say, but they arent terrorists, because terrorists have beards and Muslim names? Terrorism isnt just Muslim men blowing up planes; it is also and very much Western armies flying planes over the rest of the world bombing people on the ground below – civilians included. Anyone wants to go back in time and add up the blood on US hands, nicely called "casualties" , while this terrorist attack becomes a "mass murder". Hate the crime – but not just when it hurts you. Having said this, I have the utmost sympathies for the victims of the kin, for their sorrow is unimaginable, even before today. And I have the highest regard for the Scottish Justice system and their Minister. As for Obama, and the government 's various agencies, shut up, stop telling the world what their governments and people should do, turn back and look at your history of foreign policy.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:34 pm |
  20. Kristin Talty

    I just listened to your interview Brian. My heart goes out to you and your family during this infuriating and discouraging time. I am your cousin (McDonnell is my maiden name, Jim and Ann's daughter). I was at the memorial for John Patrick when I was just 11 years old. I just wanted to let you know we love you and support you 100%.

    Love,
    Kristin

    August 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  21. Mark Hastings

    I can't believe they let this animal out of jail to die at home in the loving arms of his family. His victims families certainly won't have that opportunity! He should have been left in his cell to die a lonely painful death!

    August 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  22. shadow

    Life in prison means life in prison.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  23. michael armstrong sr.

    Sir the guy is not going on vacation he's walking the green mile his death sentence is slow and painful from his cancer the suffering that he is going to exspeariance should give some closer to his victoms.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  24. blaine

    how abt justice for ppl killed by us navy bombing iranian civilian aircraft.many families belive megraghi he is innocent and there are enough evidence to prove the same.americans believe by closing the eyes the enitre world is blind

    August 20, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  25. Libyan

    I am very disappointed by the shallowness of all the people accusing Libyans of welcoming this terrorist back. I'm from Libya and I can assure you that most Libyans oopose Gaddafi and disapprove of his crazy actions which include oredring this terrorist to bomb that plane. Libyan oppostion organizations can be found all over the western world and many of their memebers have been murdered by Gaddafi intellegence officers just like Megrahi. The very reason for him being ordered to bomb that plane was that a prominent Libyan opposition memebr was expected to boeard it. The welcome party you all saw on TV was oragnized by Gaddafi's regime and the people you saw are merely his minions and they don't represent the true good nature of Libyans. These rallys are easily organized in democratic countries, let alone a dictatorship like Libya. People, please get a little bit more educated and informed before throwing judgements on good people like Libyans who have suffered more than anyone else from Gaddafi's crimes, one of which is murdering 1200 men in cold blood in THE SAME DAY at the notoroious Abu Salim prison in Tripoli in 1996. Thx Anderson Cooper for pointing out that 'the welcome party consisted of people who wore the same T-shirt and looked like they were rallied'.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  26. Chris Gorman

    The question to be asked of the government in Scotland is; quoting Barney Frank "on what planet do you live?". .

    August 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  27. patricia taylor,m.d.

    Wanna bet the Scot who made the decision is a "born again".

    How could Tony Blair shake hands with Gaddafi?

    I am a Scottish Jew who became a naturalized American....I am no longer pleased about the Scottish part of me....Macaskill is a big disappointment and I don't buy his reasoning. The Scottish flag was at the airport in Tripoli!!! I am very angry and my heart goes out to the family members of the victims.

    This is just not right.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  28. Fran T.

    Hey Anderson: The release of the terrorist/bomber, to Libya, should serve as a wake up call to those Americans who suggest that we send gitmo prisoners to other countries. We have no say, no control at all over how other countries will handle those prisoners in the future. Having said that, I would much rather keep gitmo inmates in an American prison because that is where they will die. They aren’t going to excape; our maximum security lockdown is the best in the world and they ain’t going no where – they will die behind prison walls no matter 20, 30 or 100 years from now.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  29. Brian D.

    So he was released big deal. You want him to stay in jail and die. Why?
    When did the crew of the ship that shot down the Iranian passenger jet Iran Air Flight 655 go to jail for the murder of close to 290 babies, children, men and women who did nothing more than purchase a ticket to visit family and friends.
    I remember hearing on the news that day the sound track played by CNN when the crew and officers on the bridge celebrate the murders with hoots and hauler.
    The terrorist has gone home now. The next time there is a news report about him it will be that his cancer has gone into remission and is still alive with a new job as a Manager at McDonald's in Tripoli.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  30. Rasheed Kikhia

    Why? i can not believe it? why he has to be released and die @ home? what about the victims family? they didn't have that chance to be with the loved one! the Libyan government kidnapped my uncle Mansur Kikhia on December 10th, 1993, Me. Kikhia was attending the Arab Organization for the Human Rights in Cairo Egypt, he was appointed as the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Unity and Foreign Affairs. In July 1972, he was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tripoli. He was the Chairman of the Libyan Delegation from the 24th to the 34th session of the General Assembly to the United Nations, New York. In August 1980 Mr. Kikhia resigned his post as the Permanent Representative of Libya at the UN publicly protesting the killing and torture of many Libyan individuals in Libya and abroad. Currently Mr. Kikhia is the Permanent Representative of the Union of Arab Jurists at the UN, and is Secretary General of the Libyan National Alliance (Political Opposition Group).
    I don’t know where is my uncle is? I am a political refuge in the united state and I hope the US government going to give me away to the Libyan government, would they!!??

    August 20, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  31. Eric R. Eitner

    That judge in Scotland needs to tread his kilt for a turban. Somebody must have promised him 70 virgins . I had crew member friends on this flight, they deserve better then having their killer set free.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  32. Fawad

    I haven't heard anyone criticizing Scotland. Why?Is that because they are better than, say, some Arab and Muslim states. When alleged terrorists get released in those countries, the norms are the governments of those states get vilified. And it's fair.

    Why everyone seems to be ok with Scottish government,after all they had a jurisdiction to overturn this sentencing. They didn't.

    The government of Scotland wanted that man,or murderer, to have his freedom.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  33. kevin

    I cannot believe what I heard. A woman said that she believes that this man should have stayed in jail to die and that his sould rots in hell. God teaches us that if we condem someone, we are condeming ourselves. Because we have all fallen short of the glory of God. My friend, by God's amazing grace we are given the gift of forgiveness. Even though we do not deserve it, God saw fit to love us nonetheless. What right do we have to do different to someone else? Are we wiser than God? Forgiveness is always better than revenge or holding a grudge. God can forgive you, why can't you forgive someone else who did something to you? I do not support what this man did; what he did was bad and a sin. He needs to repent. However, he that has no sin cast the first stone. The one without sin, pass the first judgement.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  34. william Freeworld

    what Megrahi did is unforgiveable. we should not forgive him. we should not forgive him, nor have compassion. But to tell him that he cannot see his loved ones would make us just as bad as he is. Americans are so focused on getting their revenge. I am an atheist, however if you believe in some ultimate judgement, Isn't he going to get his dues when he dies anyway?
    All life has value reguardless of who the life in question belongs to. He'll be dead and out of our hair soon anyway. If he has no remorse for his actions, so be it. If it's more important to you that you make someone as miserable as possible then you're just as bad as he is.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  35. Wanza

    It's insane for officials to release that terrorist cause he's dying! What about the victims?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  36. JC-Los Angeles

    Brian, as someone who grew up playing tennis against your brother JP back in New Jersey, I wanted to send along best wishes to you and your family during this most difficult time.

    I remember JP as a very talented, lefty player and an even better person.

    I am sorry for your loss back then and for the indignity bestowed upon you and the victims today.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  37. Shorty

    I'm disgusted but not surprised by the welcome home he got. Frankly I feel it was wrong to release him. His victims can never go home again.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Flynn – if this terrorist goes home let it be in a pine box. From Susan Atkins of the Manson family to this terrorist from Libya, how do they dare ask for mercy or compassion when they never showed 1 ounce of mercy or compassion towards the people they killed. I fear by granting this man his compassionate release we are setting a precedence that we don't need or necessarily want to have.

    August 20, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  39. jon

    Why don't we just drop the bomb on them,

    August 20, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  40. Walter Kovacs

    Innocent people dead. Scum gets to walk free. Liberal sensibilities outweigh moral thought. Criminal before. Now criminal with cancer. Evil must be punished. I will not compromise in this, not even in the face of armageddon.

    .’][’.

    August 20, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  41. Teresa, OH

    If this guy is able to get on a plane and walk, he isn't dying enough for me to show any mercy.

    Something doesnt seem right with this picture.

    August 20, 2009 at 6:03 pm |