Lawmakers want Lockerbie release probe

Published: July 7, 2010 at 5:09 PM

WASHINGTON, July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. senators from New York and New Jersey say they want a full investigation of the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of 270 counts of murder in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland. However, he was released on humanitarian grounds from a Scottish prison in 2009 after a doctor said al-Megrahi, suffering from prostate cancer, had just three months to live.

Now the four U.S. senators say al-Megrahi, still living in Libya, appears not to be as sick as alleged, The Hill newspaper reported.

The newspaper quoted Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., as saying: "There is clear reason to believe that this terrorist was released based on false information about his health. This is especially galling to those of us who believed he shouldn't have been released even if it had been true that his death was imminent."

The Hill said the doctor who made the original assessment of al-Megrahi's health told British media outlets this month the convicted terrorists could live for another 10 years. The doctor also hinted the Libyan government had pressured him to make the earlier diagnosis.

Schumer and fellow Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both of New Jersey, wrote a letter to the British ambassador Wednesday asking Britain to investigate al-Megrahi's release. They also pointed to reports politics or economics contributed to the decision to release al-Megrahi, The Hill said.

"These newly revealed details threaten to undermine public trust in due process and justice for the victims of terrorism," the senators said.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.