Libya’s rebel government said Sunday it will not extradite the Libyan man convicted in the 1988 bombing of a U.S.-bound jetliner which killed 270 people when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is dying of prostate cancer at his home in Libya, near comatose and has stopped eating. He was released from a Scotland prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 after serving 8 years of a life sentence.
Attempting to justify the NATO intervention as having something – anything – to do with US national security, some in Congress and some GOP presidential candidates pushed last week for the rebels’ Transitional National Council to re-arrest and extradite al-Megrahi. Many of the most prominent pro-war advocates invoked the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 190 Americans, as a way to demonize Gadhafi and build support for the intervention.
But it was clear that those directing US foreign policy cared little about Lockerbie or Megrahi. Just prior to Megrahi’s release, senior US Congressmen visited the Libyan government to strengthen ties with the Gadhafi government, including cooperating on a number of security deals, and were under explicit request from President Obama not to discuss the Lockerbie issue.
Megrahi is expected to die very soon, and although the US still officially objects to his release, the Libyan rebels won’t allow his extradition. “We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West,” NTC Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said.