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Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Released: The Original Guilty Verdict

By Joel Zand on August 20, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The sole defendant convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Lockerbie bombing terrorist attack was released by Scotland's Secretary of Justice and sent home to Libya today, a free man.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was convicted for his role in the December 21, 1988 bombing of a packed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 passengers and crew.  A three-judge panel from Scotland's High Court of Justiciary convicted al-Megrahi on January 31, 2001, just 7½ before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,

At the conclusion of their 82-page verdict (see below) rendered after lengthy trial, the judges pronounced al-Megrahi guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, for deliberately placing the bomb on Flight 103 that blew up the plane and killed everyone on board:

There is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused [al Megrahi], and accordingly we find him guilty of the remaining charge in the Indictment as amended.

You can read the original Lockerbie bombing trial guilty verdict here:

Today, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill set al-Megrahi free from prison, setting aside his conviction and life sentence on the grounds of compassionate release, citing the Libyan's terminal prostate cancer, 

According to MacAskill, al-Megrahi's failure to "show his victims any comfort or not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days."

Reaction to Scotland's decision has been mixed. Most families of bombing victims are outraged.

Kara Weipz, the sister of a passenger killed by the bombing, said that "he should have died in prison. Why should he be returned to Libya?"


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