The prospect of the man convicted of murdering her daughter and the 269 others who died in the bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 being released from prison has outraged Susan Cohen and many other parents of the 180 Americans aboard the flight.
“I would say it’s the best argument for capital punishment I’ve ever heard,” Cohen told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday from her home in Cape May Courthouse, N.J. Cohen, who with her husband, Daniel, has written a book about the terrorist attack, was reacting to news that Scotland is on the verge of releasing convicted Libyan bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds because the 57-year-old father of five has terminal prostate cancer.
“We were told he would at least serve his term in Scotland, and I think he should die in Scotland,” Cohen said.
All about oil?
Cohen minced no words with Lauer, saying the mercy being considered for al-Megrahi is prompted by the influence of oil interests. Libya has the ninth-highest reserves of oil in the world.
“Don’t kid yourself,” Cohen said. “This whole thing is not just about Megrahi. It is about appeasing [Libyan strongman] Muammar Gadhafi, and it is the oil interests with the governments in tow which are really behind this. That is absolutely true. I’ve watched this play out.”
Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London on Dec. 21, 1988, with 259 passengers and crew bound for New York. It blew up over Lockerbie just over a half-hour into its flight. The wreckage rained down on Lockerbie like a meteor shower, destroying homes on the ground and killing 11 more people.
Investigators established that a bomb hidden in a suitcase and detonated with a timer caused the disaster, which remains the worst terrorist attack on British soil. It took years to identify al-Megrahi, a Libyan agent, as the prime suspect. Another Libyan, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was also accused of carrying out the plot.