Obama Fumes Over Lockerbie Bomber's Release

Prez: Big mistake to free terrorist convinced of mass killings

Friday, Sep 11, 2009  |  Updated 6:07 AM CDT
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President Obama ripped British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Thursday for releasing the Lockerbie bomber, telling the British politician it was a mistake to let Abdelbaset al-Megrahi walk free.

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President Obama ripped his British counterpart over the release of the Libyan terrorist convicted of killing 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing, telling Gordon Brown it was a mistake to let the cancer-stricken murderer walk free.

In a private conversation with Brown, Britain's prime minister, Obama "expressed his disappointment" at the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. It was the first conversation between the two leaders since July, and Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president wasted no time in broaching the subject.

"He thought this was a mistake," Gibbs said. "He continues to think it was a mistake."

Al-Megrahi, who was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison, was freed by a Scottish minister who cited reasons of compassion, because al-Megrahi reportedly has prostate cancer. But subsequent reports that the release may instead have been part of an oil deal between the United Kingdom and Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who gave al-Megrahi a hero's welcome upon his return to Libya. The British Parliament is now investigating those charges.

Obama's denouncement of al-Megrahi's release comes as Gaddafi -- who won al-Megrahi's freedom and has publicly supported the terrorist -- makes plans to visit the United States, where he'll attend a UN General Assembly meeting chaired by the commander in chief himself.

Read more: New York Daily News

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