Libyan rebels won't deport Lockerbie bomber

Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, top left, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, arrives at the airport in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009> He is accompanied by Seif al-Islam el- Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. CBS

TRIPOLI, Libya — The Libyan rebel government will not deport the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, its justice minister said Sunday.

New York Senators on Aug. 22 asked the Libyan transitional government to hold Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi fully accountable for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.

But the transitional government Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told journalists in Tripoli that the request by American senators had "no meaning" because al-Megrahi had already been tried and convicted.

"We will not hand over any Libyan citizen. It was Qaddafi who handed over Libyan citizens," he said, referring to the government's decision to turn al-Megrahi over to a Scottish court for trial.

Libyan rebels reject offer for Qaddafi talks

The Scottish government released al-Megrahi in 2009, believing he would soon die of cancer. He was greeted as a hero in his native Libya and met with Qaddafi. His current whereabouts are unknown.

New York Senator Charles Schumer had encouraged the new Libyan leadership to hold al-Megrahi accountable.

"A new Libya can send a strong statement to the world by declaring it will no longer be a haven for this convicted terrorist," he said.

Scottish officials overseeing al-Megrahi's parole have said they want to contact him now that the fighting between Libyan forces and rebels has reached Tripoli.

Al-Megrahi is the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Britain's worst terrorist attack. His release after serving eight years of a life sentence infuriated the families of many victims, who suspected Britain's real motive was to improve relations with oil-rich Libya.

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