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August 20, 2009

Statement on the release of the convicted Pan Am bomber

On behalf of the families we have had the privilege of representing who lost loved ones as a result of Libyan-sponsored terrorism, including the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, we want to express our outrage that the individual convicted of this crime against humanity has been released early from prison. For the mass murder of 270 people — one of the most barbarous acts in history and the worst terrorist attack against the United States prior to September 11, 2001 — Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi served just eight years in jail and now is a free man. This is the height of injustice.

Because oil-hungry world leaders would rather appease Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi than uphold the law, al-Megrahi will get to spend his last days at home in freedom with his family. That is a luxury he stole from those he was convicted of killing and their families. The families of those who have perished and suffered due to Libya and al-Megrahi's terrorist acts have endured unspeakable and relentless grief.

The person ultimately responsible for the terrorist plot — Qaddafi — is enjoying an infusion of oil money and normalization of relations with the United States. Al-Megrahi may have been Qaddafi's pawn, but he was criminally convicted for his role in the bombing - and no amount of public relations campaigning by Libya can change that fact. Al-Megrahi's early release is appalling and hurtful to the families who lost so much already.

It was especially galling to read Republican Senator John McCain, who met with Qaddafi five days ago and subsequently tweeted, ?interesting meeting with an interesting man.'  Imagine if he had met Osama bin Laden and said the same thing.

It is a sad day for justice.