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Bring the Lockerbie Bomber to Trial -- Before It's Too Late

Editor's note: New reports says the man known as "The Lockerbie Bomber" is on his death bed, once again. The following is from an interview with former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum on August 29 on "America's Newsroom."

MARTHA MacCALLUM, ANCHOR: We're now told that The Lockerbie Bomber is indeed dying of cancer at his Libyan home. His brother spoke to journalists outside the home. Listen to this: 

LOCKERBIE BOMBER'S BROTHER: The Lockerbie case is over. He came back to Libya because of a decision from the Scottish Justice Minister. He is a sick man." 

MacCALLUM: You know, I guess you can't blame his brother for saying that, the family would like this to be over, they have their family member back home, and you know, it's understandable that that's their perspective, but a lot of people believe that since Qaddafi's regime has fallen that maybe we would get another crack at Al Megrahi and getting him back where he belongs.

FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS/FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: JOHN BOLTON: Technically he's still a Scottish prisoner. He's basically out on parole, compassionate release, they call it, but you know, the terms of the deal under which he was tried under Scottish law ten years ago really were violated by Qaddafi through and through. He didn't cooperate with the investigation. So I think it's perfectly legitimate to look at another trial of Megrahi if we can do it before he dies. 

I personally think this time the united states insist he be extradited to the united states. I think it was a mistake to agree to try him over scott ish law. Okay, that's water over the dam but let's get him back and see what we can do this time. 

MacCALLUM: I'm reading a statement that was just released by an assistant to the first minister in scotland and basically they're saying this is a closed decision, they're saying speculation about Al Megrahi in recent days has been unhelpful, unnecessary and indeed ill informed, as has always been said he is dying after terminal disease and decisions about his medical condition should be stopped there, they say they want to stop the running commentary on this issue so Scotland says this is not up for renegotiation. Who besides Scotland would we deal with if we want to force this issue and get him back to where he should be?

BOLTON: Speaking to someone whose heritage is Scottish, I have to say that that's the most ridiculous thing, the way Scotland has conducted this is ridiculous, they don't have the unilateral authority to make this decision. 

It was a joint agreement with Britain, Scotland and the United States and they released Megrahi two years ago on the theory he was going to die in three months without adequately consulting us; I think they did it at the behest of the British, for British oil interests, but in any event, I think that now it is proper, it is appropriate, for the United States to insist to the new government, the Transitional National Council in Libya, that Megrahi be handed over to us, and I think we should have no hesitation in doing that. 

MacCALLUM: But ambassador, the TNC said yesterday they see no reason to turn him over, that they will not turn over a Libyan citizen to the West, so this doesn't say much for the TNC's relationship with the rest of the world in terms of how it might have changed with regard to this issue to be sure.

BOLTON: Right. Well so much for gratitude. I understand this morning the transitional government has issued a retraction to that -- understandably. They are still a little confused. 

So I think we ought to give them a chance to make a decision to hand Megrahi over. I think this is entirely consistent with justice. 

He killed 270 innocent people in cold blood, he served an average of two weeks per murder in that Scottish jail, just over ten years, before he was released. Two weeks for murder is not an adequate sentence. 

I think we deserve another shot at him 

MacCALLUM: A lot people, the families of those killed [on Pan Am 103] say the health -- sorry to say it, but his health is really irrelevant in this case. If he dies in prison, so be it. A lot of people die in prison. 

BOLTON: Yeah, look, compassion is entirely misplaced here. Think of those 259 passengers and crew on Pan Am 103, falling through the cold dark sky from 30,000 feet, then ask me why this man deserves compassion. 

 

John Bolton was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 through 2006. He is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Fox News contributor