EDITORIAL: Justice abridged

From the Flight 103 Memorial Web site:
Woods, Chelsea Marie, 10 months, born 06.02.88, Willingboro, New Jersey, American, seat number 25F
Woods, Dedera Lynn, air force sergeant, 27 years, born 04.02.61, Willingboro, New Jersey, American, seat number 25G
Woods, Joe Nathan, civilian military worker, 28 years, born 05.03.60, Willingboro, New Jersey, American, seat number 25D
Woods, Joe Nathan, Jr., 2 years, born 24.09.86, Willingboro, New Jersey, American, seat number 25E

We join with many people and the American government in protesting the release from prison of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a 57-year-old former Libyan intelligence agent, to return home after serving 8 years of a 27-year minimum sentence on charges of murdering 270 people in the Dec. 21, 1988, terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Tupelo’s connection to the tragic crime was direct and painful; four victims had family ties to Tupelo and the region.
Killed in the explosion were Joe Nathan Woods, a Tupelo native; his wife, Air Force Sgt. Dedera Lynn Woods; and their children, Joe Nathan Woods Jr., and Chelsea Marie Woods.
The Woods family was flying home to the U.S. for Christmas holidays. Joe Woods was a civilian U.S. military employee in Germany, and Dedera Lynn Woods was in the U.S. Air Force.
Thousands of people and hundreds of communities were scarred by the tragic loss of friends and family members.
The Scottish government decided to release al-Megrahi because he has terminal prostate cancer. We understand the pain of al-Megrahi’s family about his terminal illness, but his release mocks justice for the 270 who died by his hand.
The U.S. government expressed dismay and opposition from the White House down through the diplomatic and congressional ranks, and we hope pressure is maintained on Libya through all possible channels to keep al-Megrahi under some kind of arrest.
President Obama called Megrahi’s release “a mistake” and said further discussions are being held.
“We’re now in contact with the Libyan government and want to make sure that if, in fact, this transfer has taken place, that he’s not welcomed back in some way, but instead, should be under house arrest,” the president said in a broadcast interview.
Of those killed on the flight and on the ground, 189 were Americans.
Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that “the news today from Glasgow turned the word ‘compassion’ on its head.”
Kerry called the bombing “unforgivable,” adding: “Justice is ill-served by his early release.”
We agree.

NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio