SCHUMER INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE REWARDS FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE ARREST OR CONVICTION OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE 1988 TERRORIST ATTACK ON PAN AM FLIGHT 103 OVER LOCKERBIE, SCOTLAND, WHICH KILLED 270 PEOPLE, INCLUDING DOZENS OF UPSTATE NEW YORKERS FROM CAPITAL REGION & CENTRAL NY
New Reports Have Identified Additional Suspects In The 1988 Bombing Of Pan Am Flight 103, Which Killed 270 People, Including 35 Syracuse University Students & 14 People From the Capital Region – Schumer Says Additional Information About The Attack Could Help Investigators Make New Arrests & Bring Justice To Families
In Order To Bring New Suspects To Justice, Group of Senators Including Schumer Propose Increasing Minimum Reward For Info To $10 Million; Only One Person Has Been Convicted For Deadly Bombing In 25+ Years
Schumer: Increase Reward To Bring New Suspects To Justice & Peace of Mind To Families of Victims
Along with a group of his colleagues, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer today introduced legislation that would increase the minimum reward offered under the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program for any new information that could lead to the arrest or conviction of suspects wanted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Amidst reports that new suspects have been identified and will be interviewed about the bombing, which killed 270 people, Schumer is proposing an increase in the minimum reward for new information from $5 million to $10 million. Among those killed in the bombing included 14 people with ties to the Capital Region, two of whom were part of the group of 35 Syracuse University students, who also perished when they were returning home from a semester abroad. Schumer said this will allow State Department investigators to gather addition intelligence on new suspects and bring them to justice. The legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez [D-NJ], Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] and Cory Booker [D-NJ].
“We owe it to the victims and their families to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice,” said Schumer. “To know that other accomplices are out there, after taking the lives of so many Americans, must be painful and galling for the families of the victims. We need to increase the reward to gather more information about these newly identified suspects so we can assess their guilt and help bring them to justice if they had anything to do with the Lockerbie bombing.”
Schumer said that, for years, the investigation into who perpetrated the bombing of the New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland has led to few answers and numerous dead ends. Although a single man was conviction of 207 counts of murder in 2001, many believe the accused perpetrator did not act alone. However, there has not been a sufficient amount of information that could lead law enforcement to make more arrests. Schumer said in light of recent reports that identified new suspects in the Lockerbie terrorist attack, the reward for information that leads to an arrest should be increased, particularly considering much time has elapsed and answers are needed sooner rather than later. Schumer said increasing this award would allow people with knowledge or details on the bombing to come forward and help American and international investigators bring any additional suspects to justice. Schumer said the current minimum fee under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program is $5 million. This legislation would increase that fee to $10 million.
On December 21, 1988, a bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103. The plane, travelling from London to New York, exploded above Lockerbie, Scotland and killed all 259 passengers and crew. The falling debris from the explosion killed an additional 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, bringing the total number killed to 270. Many of those killed on board were Americans, including 14 people with ties to the Capital Region and 35 Syracuse University students returning home after a semester abroad.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Scottish and American investigators identified Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and a second suspect as the primary perpetrators. In 1999, former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi handed over al-Megrahi and his accomplice to Scottish authorities. Although al-Megrahi was convicted, his accomplice was acquitted. In 2009, al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release by the Scottish government after it was revealed that he had terminal prostate cancer and only had a few months to live. He died on May 20, 2012. In December 2010, Schumer co-authored a report entitled, “Justice Undone: The Release of The Lockerbie Bomber.” Schumer’s report concluded that al-Megrahi’s initial three-months-to-live prognosis was vastly underestimated and his release violated a 1998 international agreement that was meant to keep anyone convicted of planning or executing the Lockerbie bombing be kept inside Scotland. Following his release, al-Megrahi lived for an addition two years and nine months in his native Libya.
Beyond the arrest and conviction of al-Megrahi, no additional evidence has been brought forward to identify additional suspects until now. In 2003, after strong international sanctions, Gadafi acknowledged responsibility – but not guilt – for his participation and knowledge in the bombing and agreed to allocate $2.7 billion to the victims’ families. In addition, Gadafi agreed to help international investigators in their continued pursuit of additional information regarding the bombing. In 2011, Gadafi was overthrown by the Libyan and killed. Since then, Libya has been wracked by international political violence that has derailed the investigation and stalled efforts to identify new suspects.
However, recent reports indicate that there may be new suspects that had not been previously identified. Recently, Scotland’s Crown Office and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requested that investigators from both countries be allowed to interview two Libyans as suspects in the bombing. The names of the suspects have not been released.
Schumer said this new information was a positive step towards convicting additional perpetrators. In order to gather additional information about the planning of the bombing, Schumer proposed increasing the minimum reward for relevant intelligence from $5 million to $10 million. This will allow new informants and anyone with information to come forward and share what they know about the Lockerbie bombing with State Department officials and provide the victims and families justice.
Previous Article Next Article