Romney Wants Lockerbie Bomber Extradited to Face Justice by U.S.

By Fred Lucas | August 29, 2011 | 9:46 AM EDT

( – In the aftermath of the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to see the Lockerbie bomber – responsible for 186 American deaths – extradited to the United States to face justice.

Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

“What I’d like to do is have the Lockerbie bomber extradited from Libya,” Romney said at a campaign stop in Exeter, N.H., in response to a question on the matter. “This is a person responsible for killing Americans. The idea that he would be welcomed home as a hero in Libya is simply distasteful and disgusting and outrageous and I’d like him to be extradited and face justice at the hands of the United States.”

The Scottish government released Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from his life sentence in the summer of 2009. He was convicted on 270 counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, and violating British-aviation legislation after PanAm flight 103 was destroyed at 31,000 feet, 38 minutes after departing Heathrow Airport in London bound for New York City.

The 259 people on board the plane were killed, along with 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, who were killed when the plane crashed. Scottish authorities released Megrahi “on compassionate grounds,” citing medical advice that his advanced prostate cancer gave him about three months to live. He is still alive.

He was welcomed back to Libya under Gaddafi’s regime, which sponsored the attack.

“Guantanamo always serves a useful purpose in settings like this,” Romney added. “The process we follow, we’ll follow our laws with regards to this individual. But the right thing is that he should be extradited as an indication to the people of the world that you can’t kill American or other good people in the world without suffering consequence. And him being freed and walking around a free person, thumbing his nose at the world for having taken down an aircraft and killing almost 200 people is unacceptable and I’d get him extradited if we could possibly make that happen.”

His release generated public attention this month when four U.S. senators from New York and New Jersey called on the administration to probe the affair. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had also called for an inquiry into the matter by British and Scottish officials.