Justice served by Gaddafi death, Lockerbie families say

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2011 11:53 AM
Justice served by Gaddafi death, Lockerbie families say

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Relatives of victims of the flight blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by Libyan agents 23 years ago said justice was served with the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Thursday, but they also hoped it would reveal who else was behind the attack.

"I hope he's in hell with Hitler," said Kathy Tedeschi, whose first husband, Bill Daniels, was among the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103.

"I saw it on the TV when I was ... (at the gym), I just can't stop crying, I am so thrilled," said Tedeschi, 62, who had three children with Daniels. "I am sure (Gaddafi) was the one who pushed to have this done, the bombing."

Gaddafi was killed Thursday, sparking wild celebrations that eight months of war in Libya may finally be over. Details of the fallen strongman's death were hazy but it was announced by several officials of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and backed up by a photograph of a bloodied face ringed by familiar, Gaddafi-style curly hair.

Bob Monetti, whose son Richard, 20, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing said: "The world is a much better place without Gaddafi and Libya is certainly much better off."

"I hope we can get some more information and get on with our lives," he said. "I am way past vengeance."

The PanAm airliner exploded as it flew to New York from London on December 21, 1988. All 259 people aboard the aircraft were killed and 11 others on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie also died from falling wreckage.

Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was the only person found guilty of murder in the 1988 bombing of the airliner. He was convicted in January 2001 by a three-judge Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. The court acquitted his co-defendant, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima.

'GADDAFI HIMSELF ORDERED THIS'

"We know that there are more people involved, we're hoping that in the records and files that will turn up as a result of the overthrow of Gaddafi will give more evidence of other people's involvement," said Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of PanAm 103 group.

"But it was clear that Gaddafi himself ordered this."

Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison but released by Scottish authorities on health grounds in August 2009, a decision that infuriated members of the victims' group.

"Sure the guy is supposedly dying, but he also knows who else is behind it and he should be in prison and that's where he should die," said Brian Flynn, vice president of the Victims of PanAm 103 group.

"There were other people behind the bombing, it wasn't just al-Megrahi and it wasn't just Gaddafi," said Flynn, whose brother J.P. Flynn was killed in the bombing.

But he said the families of the victims could feel a sense of accomplishment with the death of Gaddafi.

"We have been saying for more than 20 years ... that (Gaddafi) would continue to haunt the world until he was brought to justice," said Flynn. "We can take a certain sense of accomplishment that we were able to honor our loved ones and not give up."

(Editing by Mark Egan and Eric Beech)