Lockerbie bomber released

By Marcus Dysch, August 20, 2009

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is to be released from jail on compassionate grounds.

The decision comes 24 hours after the parents of Jewish victim Marc Tager said such a move would be “ridiculous”.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today rejected a prisoner transfer request which would have seen al-Megrahi serve the rest of his sentence in his home country.

But he agreed to the release on grounds of al-Megrahi suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

The Libyan had been serving life in a Scottish for murdering 270 people aboard Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

On Wednesday, Michael and Birthe Tager, of Hendon, north west London, said they were struggling to describe their feelings about al-Megrahi.

Mr Tager, a member of North Hendon Adath Yisroel Synagogue, said: “It’s difficult to know how we feel. On one hand he [al-Megrahi] was obviously involved, but he was not the brains behind it.

“To let him out for sympathy reasons is ridiculous when so many people were killed and so many families lost relatives.

“The sad thing is we will never get to the bottom of what happened and why it happened.”

Mrs Tager added: “We think the same as all the English people; it was not him. There were many people behind him.”

Their son Marc was a 22-year-old member of Finchley Synagogue and an active charity and youth worker when he was killed. He had helped establish a JNF committee.

Following his death, money was raised to open a sports centre in his name in Upper Nazareth, in the Galilee region of northern Israel.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a number of US senators, have warned Mr MacAskill that it would be “absolutely wrong” to free al-Megrahi.

A number of American Jews and an Israeli were also on board the jet.

Last updated: 3:37pm, August 20 2009