Mitt Romney responded to news of the impending fall of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in Libya by calling on the incoming leaders of the country to allow one of the world’s most notorious terrorists to face the music. Again.
“It is my hope that Libya will now move toward a representative form of government that supports freedom, human rights, and the rule of law,” Romney said in a statement Monday. “As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, so justice can finally be done.”
Megrahi was tried and convicted by a Scottish court in 2001 for his role in the Pam Am 103 bombing, which killed 259 people in 1988. After serving less than nine years of his sentence, he was released to his Libya by a Scottish court on the “compassionate” grounds that his death from cancer was apparently imminent. Megrahi was given a hero’s welcome by Qaddafi upon his return to Libya and has lived far longer than the doctors cited by the Scottish court predicted.
The release was highly controversial at the time and was opposed by the Obama Administration. The fact that Megrahi is still alive has kept the controversy alive, and led to condemnations from inside the United Kingdom as well as across the world.
Romney’s statement is bound to shift some of the discussion around the Libya uprising from the end of Qaddafi’s rule to what happens now that the dictator appears to no longer be running the country.