FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2012
AT SENATE HEARING, SCHUMER SECURES COMMITMENT FROM AG HOLDER TO CONTINUE AGGRESSIVE INVESTIGATIONS OF LOCKERBIE BOMBING, DESPITE AL-MEGRAHI’S RECENT DEATH
Schumer Asked AG Holder to Aggressively and Proactively Pursue Leads Related to Al-Megrahi’s Attacks in the 1988 Lockerbie Bombing that Killed 35 Syracuse University Students
Holder Agreed to Continue Investigation, Saying, “We Consider This an Open Matter”
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today, during the Senate Oversight Hearing of the Department of Justice, secured a commitment from Attorney General Holder to continue aggressive investigative pursuits into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed many New Yorkers, including 180 Americans and a contingent of students from Syracuse University. Schumer urged AG Holder to commit to continuing its active investigative role, despite the death of Libya’s convicted terrorist, Al-Megrahi, last month. AG Holder responded positively, stating that there is an open investigation into the Lockerbie bombing in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington D.C.
“It is a grave injustice that Al-Megrahi, an evil terrorist that caused so much heartache and havoc died last month in freedom instead of behind bars where he belongs. I urged Attorney General Eric Holder to make sure that no further heartbreak comes to the victims’ families, and that the Department of Justice continues to aggressively investigate the tragic events of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. The Al-Megrahi debacle goes down as one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice of the 20th Century, and the Department of Justice should not let up in its pursuit of at least some level of justice for Syracuse families and friends of those victims. I am extremely pleased that AG Holder committed to keeping the Lockerbie investigation open in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington D.C..”
Schumer continued, “The British and Scottish governments have not come clean about how this mass-murderer got his freedom, and the transaction still has the unholy stench of oil for blood. I am also urging AG Holder to play an active role in pressing other nations, like Scotland, to proactively pursue leads as they relate to the Lockerbie bombing. History shows the truth almost always comes out; in this case we hope it is sooner rather than later.”
In May 2012, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, reportedly died after having been released from prison almost 3 years ago on the so-called compassionate claim that the terrorist only had 3 months to live. Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pam Am flight 103 enroute from London’s Heathrow Airport to New York’s Kennedy International Airport, killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland. Many New Yorkers and New Jersey residents were on board, including 180 Americans and a contingent of students from Syracuse University.
Despite being sentenced to life in prison, Megrahi was released in August 2009 on compassionate grounds that claimed the terrorist had only 3 months to live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Serious questions emerged over whether Megrahi’s release was connected to an oil deal between BP and the Libyan government, under pressure from the British government. Schumer’s advocacy to return Megrahi to prison culminated with an extraordinary meeting the Senator led with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Washington, DC in July 2010.
Today, Schumer urged A.G. Eric Holder to ensure that this convicted terrorist’s death not lead way to decreased attention and focus in the investigation of the Lockerbie bombing. He asked that the Department of Justice aggressively renew its investigation into the tragedy. AG Holder responded as follows:
“This is a matter that certainly Megrahi was involved in. I think there is still a basis to believe that a more investigation is warranted, and we are pressing the Libyan government in that regard…
“We consider this an open matter. It’s open in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington D.C.”