Chris Lee calls for investigation into Lockerbie bomber's release
Here's a press release we received from Congressman Chris Lee's office:
Representing the families and friends of victims in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103, Congressman Chris Lee and two other freshmen NY lawmakers are demanding an investigation into new allegations surrounding the release of the infamous Lockerbie bomber.
Lee and Reps. Michael E. McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and Daniel B. Maffei (D-Syracuse) circulated a bipartisan "Dear Colleague" letter urging fellow members to sign onto their demand that the British Government immediately investigate the circumstances surrounding the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.
The congressmen represent districts which suffered numerous losses when the aircraft exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988.
Recent reports have linked British Petroleum’s (BP) interest in securing a $900 million oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya’s coast with al-Megrahi’s inclusion in a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.
These allegations are incredibly concerning and are further complicated by reports that al-Megrahi remains in notably good health a year after being released on compassionate grounds for his terminal illness.
“Like most Americans, I was outraged by the release of the Lockerbie bomber, but the allegations that have recently surfaced really add insult to injury for the families of the victims,” McMahon said.
“If it turns out that an ally of the U.S. could have released this terrorist to further its own business opportunities, that country will not only have disgraced itself, it will have utterly disrespected the victims and their families for the most vile reasons. We deserve answers and the British Government needs to provide them immediately.”
Maffei said: “Central New York lost dozens of our own in the bombing of Pan AM Flight 103, so our community felt a particularly acute pain when Scotland released Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi last year. We are concerned that the U.K. may have released al-Megrahi because of lobbying from a private company.
"If that is the case, it is worse than an international embarrassment: it is an affront to justice, an insult to the victims who died in 1988, and a slight to the families who have dealt with that unimaginable pain for more than 20 years.”
Lee said: “Megrahi’s release was outrageous and an insult to the families of his victims. Western New Yorkers, and all those who lost loved ones on Pan Am Flight 103, deserve a full investigation into Megrahi’s release and the possibility that a business deal was behind it.”
Four of the 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing came from Rep. McMahon’s district, with the two youngest age 20 and the oldest age 33. All four were traveling home for the holidays.
Forty victims of the bombing came from Rep. Maffei’s district, including 35 Syracuse University students who were returning home after having studied abroad.
Similarly, Western New Yorkers in Rep. Lee’s district who lost friends and family on Pan Am Flight 103 have reached out to him in recent days after the allegations about Megrahi’s release surfaced.
The letter being circulated by the freshmen lawmakers requests not only for an investigation into allegations surrounding al-Megrahi’s release to Libya, but also for British Government officials to address Congress on the matter.