FAMILIES of the US victims of the Lockerbie bombing have applauded the Libyan people after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, but urged Libya’s new leaders to bring the other perpetrators to justice.
Gaddafi was accused of ordering the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet that exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 259 people on the plane, most of them Americans, as well as 11 Scots on the ground.
The only person convicted, Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, was released by Scotland on compassionate grounds in 2009 after doctors said he had three months to live. He returned to Libya.
“First, we want to commend the Libyan people for their courage and determination,” said a statement posted on the official homepage of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103.
“Their freedom has come at a very high cost of their loved ones, so we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”
The statement praised NATO forces and US President Barack Obama for supporting rebel efforts and helping to oust Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya with an iron fist for more than four decades.
“It might have been easier to stand back and allow potentially tragic events to play out,” it said. “Instead, the US, the UK and France showed tremendous courage in the face of challenging political and diplomatic circumstances.”
Britain and the United States have pressed Libya’s new leaders to co-operate in further investigations into the bombing and the families of the American victims insisted those efforts must continue even with Gaddafi gone.
“For more than 20 years, the families of the Victims of Pan Am 103 have been fighting tirelessly in the pursuit of justice and justice demands that the tyrannical Gaddafi regime needs to be held accountable for the murder of our loved ones,” they said.
“Although today is a great day for the Libyan people and for the universal fight for freedom, our work is not done.
“The Libyan agent convicted in the bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, remains at large in Libya and other Libyan officials involved in the bombing have not been captured,” it said.
“We will take a moment today to honour our family members: In their memory, we did not give up. We kept fighting for them and for some semblance of justice. Today, we take some satisfaction that justice can be done.”