JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League called the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber a "travesty of justice."
Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi arrived in Tripoli to a hero’s welcome Thursday after serving only 8 years of a 27-year minimum life sentence. Megrahi, who is in the final stages of an advanced cancer, was released from a Scottish prison on "compassionate grounds," Scottish officials said.
He was released from prison under a Scottish law that allows early release for a prisoner with less than three months to live. Megrahi continues to claim he is innocent.
"To treat such a violent person with ‘sensitivity’ and to allow him to rejoin society is to extend to him a right that he had permanently denied his victims," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman, in a statement. "For the families of those who perished, his release has reopened painful wounds and deprived them of a sense of closure."
Some 270 people died when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky in December 1988 by a bomb smuggled on board. Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001.