Outrage over Libyan celebrations for first anniversary of Lockerbie bomber's release

Tripoli, Aug 19(ANI): Libya's plans to hold massive celebrations on the first anniversary of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's release has infuriated relatives of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Susan Cohen, who lost her 22-year-old daughter in the bombing, said that the celebrations would be absolutely disgusting and horrible.

"It's bad enough that we have got to put up with the claim this terrorist would be dead within three months, now we have to sit by while they have a celebration in his honour," The Telegraph quoted Cohen, as saying. Western Governments should be complaining about this is the strongest terms. The idea that they are using young people from around the world as part of their propaganda is disgraceful."

"Why do we allow this to happen? I would like to see the British and American Governments take this to the United Nations and condemn it. The whole thing is completely unacceptable," she added.

According to reports, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son has brought hundreds of teenagers from around the world to Tripoli to celebrate the first anniversary of Megrahi's release.

They will be joined by thousands of Libyan teenagers in Green Square, the symbolic heart of Colonel Gaddafi's revolutionary state, on Friday.

The teenagers will be encouraged to cheer loudly as they watch footage of Megrahi's descending the steps of the plane on arrival in Tripoli last August.

The celebrations have been bankrolled by a foundation run by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who had officially welcomed Megrahi last year.

"We will show the youths the accomplishments of the regime. There will be patriotic music and praise of the Brother Leaders highlights," a Libyan official working for the organising committee said.

"One of these most definitely is the return of Brother Megrahi. It is very important for the morale of the revolutionary republic that we mark a key date in our calendar," he added.

Megrahi, the only person to be convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, was released by the Scottish government last year on compassionate grounds after it was claimed that he was suffering from prostate cancer and had only three months to live.

The 58-year-old, who is understood to be receiving fresh treatment for his cancer, is expected to remain at his villa in Tripoli during the celebrations. (ANI)

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