August 22nd, 2009
05:43 PM ET
13 years ago

Schumer asks for U.N. condemnation of Libya

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sen. Chuck Schumer said on Saturday that ‘It's clear that the Libyan government's love affair with terrorism hasn't ended yet.’"]NEW YORK (CNN) - New York Senator Chuck Schumer appealed to the United Nations Saturday to condemn Libya's joyful welcome home for the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man responsible for the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland was granted a "compassionate release" by Scottish officials Thursday after doctors said he was dying from terminal prostate cancer.

Megrahi, 57, boarded a jet in route to his native Libya where he was greeted with a hero's welcome shocking the world.

"If Libya wants to be embraced by the international community, embracing convicted terrorists is not the way to do it," Schumer said. "It's clear that the Libyan government's love affair with terrorism hasn't ended yet."

At a news conference, Schumer said he is asking U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to introduce a resolution denouncing Libya's over zealous heroes welcome and wants an apology.

Schumer said he wants this resolution passed before Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi arrives in New York next month for a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

"The behavior of the Libyan government since the release of Al Megrahi has simply compounded the crime," Schumer said. "It's been appalling and grotesque."

Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people were killed, 189 of whom were Americans.

The Libyan government compensated victim's families in the amount of $2.7 billion in 2007 and officially accepted responsibility for the bombing on August 16, 2003.

Bryce Daniels whose father was aboard the plane spoke at the news conference and echoed the senator's words, "The victims of Pan Am flight 103 along with much of this country as well as many of those who live in the United Kingdom were appalled at the manner in which Megrahi was received."

"We don't have all the details," Schumer said. "But if it turns out that the British government encouraged this release to gain an oil contract, shame, shame, shame on them."

A $900 million oil deal between Libya and Britain was made in 2004.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday no deals were ever made with Libya while he was in power to arrange the Lockerbie bomber's release.

- CNN's Chris Hubscham contributed to this report.

Filed under: United Nations
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Vickie Mertz

    I agree with Chuck Schumer and Bryce Daniels completely!!! Thursday when I heard about Al Megrahi getting a "compashionate release", I couldn't believe anyone could be that un-compashionate (and stupid) by allowing this. I wonder how he would be reacting, the Scottish guy, if his son or daughter were on that plane!!!! I realize that Europe seems to feel different than our citizens about being compashionate, but they'd better get over it before something happens in or to their town or country. I'm done!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. Aashish

    The Senator should rather his comments to the state that has the highest terrorist activity in the world, along with state support – Pakistan, our ally in the war on terror. Pakistan still houses Osama Bin Laden and will not allow US/ NATO ground troops to catch him. Pakistan also houses the most terrorist training camps in the world. These camps have implicit support from the army and intelligence services. Its about time, the US govt sets the facts straight and tells the truth to the American people. North Korea, Libya, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq are lesser evils than our allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

    August 22, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Scots Away

    Scotland should make reparations to the families of Pan Am 103. Maybe a few million to each would help the Scots to appreciate their stupid error – or better yet, a Libyan "thankyou" delivered to the Scottish mainland.

    August 22, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. joe

    most peopple vote for mr, obama because he is black we dont want
    haters"on the white house,.those who pray on hate please go away!!!

    August 22, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. Nik Green

    The evidence used to convict Megrahi was circumstantial and/or hearsay, at "best". A 2007 review of the Megrahi case found much questionable evidence, providing solid ground for opening a fresh investigation of the Lockerbie bombing. Many in the UK and around the rest of the world believe that Megrahi is innocent of the terrorism charges. Here in the US however, the corporate media have starved the public of vital material in this case (and numerous others of this nature) that would allow a balanced and more rational viewpoint regarding what happened to that PanAm flight. Since it has become fashionable for the powers-that-be to frame muslim people for every bad deed that happens around the world (in the absence of the "Big Bad Soviet Threat"), we find that pinning the blame on someone with a vaguely Arabic sounding name is easy, because it (a) fits our comfort zone, and (b) gives the military a place to hang it's oversized cowboy hat.

    The outrage that Schumer expresses is manipulative, baseless, sanctimonious and misplaced.

    August 22, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  6. 60's survivor

    this is a shame. I feel for all the families of the victims.

    August 23, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
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