U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on Sunday criticized the Scottish government for allowing convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Bassett al-Megrahi to die a free man in what he said "smelled of a deal for oil."
Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on CNN that the death of Megrahi, reported on Sunday by the former Libyan intelligence officer's brother, meant the full truth about the bombing of a Pan Am airliner in 1988 over Scotland may never be known.
He has questioned whether Megrahi was released from prison as part of a deal for Libyan oil. A number of the Lockerbie victims were from New York.
"Both the Scottish and British governments have not been forthcoming," Schumer said. "The whole deal smelled of a deal for oil for this man's freedom and that was almost blasphemy given what a horrible person he was and the terrible destruction and tragedy that he caused. I don't know if we'll ever get to the bottom of it now."
Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of blowing up the plane, which was going from London to New York, killing all 259 aboard and 11 people in the Scottish town of Lockerbie. He was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 because he had cancer and was expected to live only a few months.
"This man was a horrible man, al-Megrahi," Schumer said. "It would have been better had he not died in freedom, had he died in prison. That's what he deserved and I still believe that the Scottish government, perhaps with the participation of the British government, created a major injustice when they let him out."
Last year, Schumer called on Libya's new government to take Megrahi into custody or lose U.S. aid.
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