Libyan Rebels Refuse To Extradite Any Pan Am Flight 103 Bombing Suspects

Any hope that a change in government in Tripoli would bring the people responsible for the bombing for Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland has gone out the window:

TRIPOLI, Libya – The Libyan rebels’ interim government says it will not deport the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The rebel Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told journalists in Tripoli Sunday that no Libyan citizen would be deported, even Abdel-Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted in a Scottish court and imprisoned for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people.

This comes on top of reports that al-Megrahi himself has disappeared from Tripoli and believed to have gone into hiding with Gaddafi.

So much for the theory that we have any friends among the Libyan rebels.

FILED UNDER: Africa, National Security, Terrorism, World Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Even if a new government wanted to extradite a high profile figure, it would presumably consolidate power first.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Extradite him for what? Scotland released him. Sentence done.

  3. Alex,

    Conviction in Scotland would not bar his trial in an American court. And there are specific statutes that were in effect in 1985 that would cover this.

    Also, if there are other suspects apprehended there would be no bar to trying them anywhere.

  4. Alex Knapp says:


    Has the U.S. sought extradition?

  5. michael reynolds says:

    This is an amazingly stupid post. They haven’t even taken power yet and already Mataconis is proclaiming any hope for good relations to be dead?

    Just straight up dumb.

  6. So far Michael, these rebels are proving themselves to be untrustworthy. But, I suppose it will be fine since we really only got involved in this thing because the effete Europeans were too weak to defend their own interests

  7. @Alex Knapp:

    We don’t have an extradition treaty with Libya. And they surely would not have extradited the leader of their country.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    So far they haven’t proven themselves to be anything. They’re still fighting. We don’t even know who is in charge yet.

    You know, Doug, you’ve been wrong about every part of this from the very start. Remember telling us Obama would never get UN support? Remember when you were telling us the rebels were hopeless and couldn’t win? Remember when you were telling us they were Al Qaeda? Remember how it would be a quagmire, and we’d have to send in troops, and all the rest of your fact-free “analysis?”

    You haven’t been right yet. And now — without even knowing who these guys are, or what kind of government they’ll form, or a single thing about them — you’re throwing up your hands and saying, “See? I told you so: they’re bad, bad people.”

    They may be bad people. But given your record to date on Libya don’t you think you might want to hold off for a few weeks at least? Or are you hoping to hold onto your record for being 100% wrong?

  9. Michael,

    I believe the American intervention in Libya to be unjustified regardless of the results because our national interests were not implicated and we have no right to intervene in the affairs of sovereign nations just because we don’t like their government. The fact that Gaddafi was removed does not change that one bit.

    My “record on Libya” is opposing a war that we had no right to be involved in to begin with, begun by a President who arrogantly refused to seek Congressional approval for his decision, instead believing that effete diplomats at the United Nations were the only people he needed to convince.

  10. RW Rogers says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They may be bad people.

    We probably won’t know much until after the dust settles. “They” are probably far from being a unified force, except in opposition to the leader-in-hiding, and who knows what will happen once he is dead or vanquished?

    But given your record to date on Libya don’t you think you might want to hold off for a few weeks at least?

    That hasn’t stopped him yet, so why start now? IMO, this tendency to say something/ anything even when it adds nothing to the sum of knowledge has become more pronounced in recent months. That’s too bad, because Doug used to be far more interesting.

    Or are you hoping to hold onto your record for being 100% wrong?

    Perhaps useless posts like this are a side-effect of Palin Derangement Syndrome.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    In other words you’re justified in writing nonsense so long as it supports your position? You’re not interested in the truth, just restating your opposition? Should we assume this is your standard across-the-board?

    You’ve written a fair number of posts on Libya. In those posts you’ve made various claims and predictions, and those claims and predictions have thus far been wrong. They don’t get less wrong just because you restate your opinion that we never should have gone in. It’s like saying you opposed WW2 therefore we must have lost. It’s ideology ahead of fact.

    No one denies that you have a right to your position. But you don’t have a right to make up “facts” to support your position. That’s not analysis, it’s just propaganda. At that point your writing becomes worthless.

    I think you are a very confused guy. You need to step back and ask yourself what you’re doing, what you’re writing and why. You need to ask yourself whether the truth matters to you, or whether you’re just a hack. You have the intelligence, you have the talent, you certainly have the work ethic and energy. You don’t have to reduce yourself to shilling for untenable ideology, or justifying your own errors in analysis. Truth first, everything else second.

  12. @michael reynolds:

    Your condescension isn’t appreciated. I find it interesting that your response didn’t even bother to address what I wrote in my response to you. It just attacked me.

    What part of “I don’t think American intervention in Libya was justified regardless of the result” don’t you understand?

    As for my previous posts about Libya, all of those were based upon the available facts. Not all of us have your apparent gift for prescience

  13. DazedandConfused says:

    I disagree with your analysis and conclusion on this one.

    They say he was “welcomed as a hero”, but they failed to mention that he was welcomed not as a “hero” who did Lockerbie, but as someone who was framed.

    I tend to think it quite likely they got the wrong guy too. The Hezb’allah connection looks much more plausible to me. However, that’s not the key point, which is that the Libyans from day one have been told he was framed and convicted on bad evidence and they sincerely believe it.

  14. Michael,

    Here’s some more about those friendly Libyan rebels:

    The killings were pitiless.

    They had taken place at a makeshift hospital, in a tent marked clearly with the symbols of the Islamic Crescent. Some of the dead were on stretchers, attached to intravenous drips. Some were on the back of an ambulance that had been shot at. A few were on the ground, seemingly attempting to crawl to safety when the bullets came.

    Around 30 men lay decomposing in the heat. Many of them had their hands tied behind their back, either with plastic handcuffs or ropes. One had a scarf stuffed into his mouth. Almost all of the victims were black men. Their bodies had been dumped near the scene of two of the fierce battles between rebel and regime forces in Tripoli.

    “Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,” shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed? Mr Sabri, more a camp follower than a fighter, shrugged. It was seemingly incomprehensible to him that anything wrong had been done.

    The corpses were on the grass verges of two large roundabouts between Bab al-Aziziyah, Muammar Gaddafi’s compound stormed by the revolutionaries at the weekend and Abu Salim, a loyalist district which saw three days of ferocious violence.

    Animals, nothing but animals

  15. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is a really bizarre line:

    So far Michael, these rebels are proving themselves to be untrustworthy.

    They are shaking out the end-game of a bloody civil war. They unlikely have control of the whole country, or even of groups nominally on their own side. In the midst of that, what is this “trust” of which you speak?

    Did you trust them? Why? Or what commitment (to you?) do you think they failed, to make them “untrustworthy?”

  16. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Doug Mataconis:” Yeah, Michael, it’s an article of my Libertarian faith and not to be challenged. It is metaphysically true even if it is false–because I believe it and will not be persuaded otherwise.

    Hope that helps you resolve the argument, Doug. Sometimes a simple statement of one’s faith is all that is necessary.

  17. Davebo says:

    Anyone using the word “effete” multiple times in one thread is, in my opinion, trying to overcome something Doug.

    But there is help available, and you’ve obviously got the time so avail yourself.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I didn’t respond to argument because you didn’t make one. You often don’t.

    You start with They’re completely untrustworthy because they won’y give up al-Megrahi.

    And when challenged you defend this by saying, I never did like this war.

    The two statements are not connected. No argument was made. On the contrary it was embarrassing. What did you think I was going to say? “Well then, case closed by your non sequitur!”

    Nor does a single atrocity prove your point. You want to do some big boy analysis? I’ll give you something to watch for. The guys in Sirte — Gaddafi’s home town — are negotiating with the rebels. If anyone, anywhere has reason not to trust the rebels, it’ll be them. If a negotiated surrender occurs that will tell us something. If revenge killing is going to take place on a wide scale, we’ll most likely see it there.

    Meanwhile, it turns out al-Megrahi is all-but-dead and no one would extradite him — not even us.

    By the way, if anyone should have sent him to the US it’s the Scots. Are they on the list of people who have proven themselves untrustworthy?

  19. @michael reynolds:

    It’s the naive people who think that these rebels are Libyan freedom fighters and that the future of Libya will be some grand democracy that really crack me up, Michael. You’re hoping for something that hasn’t happened anywhere in the Arab world yet.

    As for the future of Libya, as long as they don’t threaten our interests, I really have no concern about it and I don’t want my country involved in deciding it.

  20. @A voice from another precinct:

    Please, enlighten me. How is my opinion wrong? You may disagree with it, that’s your right. But, unlike you apparently, I don’t want my country going around the world fighting wars for other people’s freedom.