ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state's U.S. senators have asked the Libyan transitional government to hold the convicted Lockerbie, Scotland, plane bomber fully accountable for his terrorist actions.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted and imprisoned in Scotland for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The bombing killed 270 people, including 189 Americans; 35 were Syracuse University students returning home for Christmas after studying in Britain.
The Scottish government released al-Megrahi in 2009, believing he'd soon die of cancer. He was greeted as a hero in his native Libya and met with leader Moammar Gadhafi, whose 42-year rule now teeters on the brink of collapse.
Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer on Monday called for al-Megrahi to be returned to prison.
"The release of al-Megrahi was a total miscarriage of justice," Gillibrand said in a statement. "Seeing him participate in good health at a pro-Gadhafi rally recently was another slap in the face not just for the families of the Lockerbie victims, but for all Americans and all nations of the world who are committed to bringing terrorists to justice."
Schumer said: "A new Libya can send a strong statement to the world by declaring it will no longer be a haven for this convicted terrorist."
Scottish officials overseeing al-Megrahi's parole said Monday they want to contact him now that the fighting between Libyan forces and rebels has reached Tripoli.
A spokesman for the East Renfrewshire Council near Glasgow said the council wants to reach al-Megrahi soon.
"Obviously the situation has changed in Tripoli since the weekend," council spokesman George Barbour told The Associated Press. "It puts us in a position where we are looking to make sure that we can contact him in the same way we have over the past two years."
The council keeps tabs on al-Megrahi through regular video link conferences, and Barbour said there has been no breach of his release conditions or cause for concern about his parole.
Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Britain's worst terrorist attack. His release after serving eight years of a life sentence infuriated the families of many victims, who suspected Britain's real motive was to improve relations with oil-rich Libya.
Some relatives, however, believe that al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted and that evidence points to Iranian-backed Palestinian militants as the perpetrators.