Families of the victims from the 1988 Lockerbie bombing have welcomed the news of Muammar Gaddafi’s death, and say that justice has finally arrived for their loved ones and for the people of Libya.
As news broke that the former dictator had been killed in Sirte, the relatives of those killed on Pan Am flight 103 gave their reactions to various media outlets.
Frank Duggan, president of a group called Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, said that that people all over the world will be celebrating the death of a “monster.” He told The Daily Beast, “It has not been confirmed, but I hope he is dead. May he rest in pieces.”
(PHOTOS: The Lockerbie Bombing)
New Jersey resident Susan Cohen lost her 20-year-old daughter, Theodora, in the Lockerbie tragedy. She told the Associated Press she’s buying a bottle of expensive champagne to celebrate.
And Mary Kay Stratis (pictured), whose husband Elia was killed in the explosion, spoke of her relief that Gaddafi had been deposed. “My eyes were opened as a widow of a victim of his terrorism,” she told The Daily Beast. “He terrorized his people and many others around the world, and it is a relief to know that he is out of power.”
The bombing of Pan Am flight 103 took place on December 21, 1988. All 259 passengers and crew members were killed after a time-controlled explosive detonated as the plane flew over Lockerbie, Scotland. In addition to those on the flight, 11 people were also killed as large pieces of wreckage decimated houses in the village below.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in January 2001 and completed eight years of his life sentence before being released in 2009, on compassionate grounds, when it was found he had terminal prostate cancer. Despite Scottish doctors claiming the Libyan had just months to live, al-Megrahi is still alive to this day and received a hero’s welcome upon his return to Libya.
Meanwhile, the family of each victim from the bombing received $10 million from the Libyan government in compensation for the act of terrorism. The payments were also a condition of a proposed deal by Gaddafi to repair relations with the United States.
Gaddafi later boasted that the money Libya paid to the victims’ families had been made back from Western oil companies seeking to explore his country’s vast petroleum reserves.