In New Jersey, state and federal lawmakers are voicing opposition to the possibility Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may stay on a property there next month. Gaddafi is scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York. The Libyan government has apparently made plans for Gaddafi to stay at a residence owned by the Libyan embassy in the town of Englewood. Gaddafi’s visit would come just weeks after Libya welcomed home Abdel al-Megrahi, who was jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. The Scottish government released Megrahi because he’s dying of cancer, but his celebratory reception in Libya drew international criticism. Democratic Congress member Steve Rothman said Gaddafi isn’t welcome in New Jersey.
Rep. Steve Rothman: “He is a murderous dictator with American blood on his hands, a person who just held an obscene celebration for the release of the mass-murdering Lockerbie bomber, so it makes him even more of an unpleasant and unwelcome guest or visitor. But we would have objected no matter which nationality he was from, because there are not the resources here, and it’s not the neighborhood for that kind of a visitor or resident in this single-home residential neighborhood.”
Megrahi’s release has renewed attention on the Lockerbie bombing. Megrahi has always maintained his innocence. There has been speculation the bombing was actually committed by Iranian militants in retaliation for the US shoot-down of an Iranian airliner just four months earlier, killing all 290 people aboard.