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Salmond defends Megrahi release

Aug. 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- First Minister Alex Salmond still defends the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber as consistent with Scottish law.

Critics say that if the government of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi falls, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi should either be returned to Scotland or extradited to the United States, The Herald of Scotland reported. Megrahi was convicted of carrying out the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

When Megrahi was freed two years ago, officials said he had terminal prostate cancer and had only three months to live. He remains alive, although clearly seriously ill.

Most of the people killed on the plane were U.S. citizens, many of them college students returning home for Christmas.

"The first act of the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya should be to extradite al-Megrahi to the United States to answer for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, to signal to the world that a new Libya has every intention to adhere to international law," U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., told the Herald.

A spokesman for Salmond said the reports that led to the decision for Megrahi's compassionate release are now in the public record and the entire issue has been extensively reviewed.

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