Brother of Local Victim Reacts to Lockerbie Bomber's Death

5:24 PM, May 23, 2012   |    comments
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Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is helped from an airplane as he returns to Libya.

BENGHAZI, Libya - The former Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has died in Tripoli, according to his son.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in the bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people but was released in 2009 from his Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds.

Al-Megrahi suffered from prostate cancer. His death was announced Sunday by his son, Khaled.

Among his victims was Colleen Brunner of Hamburg, who was traveling home from a trip abroad. Her death both saddened and infuriated Western New Yorkers. It devastated her family members who, even today, are reluctant to discuss it.

In August of 2009, the Scottish released al-Megrahi, claiming he would be dead from cancer within three months.

That was three years ago.

Instead, he arrived home to Libya to a hero's welcome with a kiss from then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, whom many believe ordered the bombing.

For three years, the Brunner family waited and waited for al-Megrahi to die.

2 On Your Side spoke to Colleen's brother Michael Brunner Sunday.

REPORTER: What was your reaction when you heard the news?

BRUNNER: Well, I was very pleased to hear that Al-Megrahi finally died. I do feel that there was a major injustice done by both the Scottish and the British governments when they let him out.

Many, including Senator Chuck Schumer, have long suspected the British pressured the Scottish to release Al-Megrahi for a lucrative oil drilling deal with Libya and Gadhafi.

REPORTER: How frustrating have these last three years been for you and your entire family?

BRUNNER: Very frustrating knowing that the person that literally killed my sister was out free living with his family when we don't have our sister.

Michael Brunner said it was Gadhafi's brutal death last fall that helped him move on.

BRUNNER: When he died -- Gadhafi died -- and particularly the way he died was fitting and the peace of mind that I needed was him being killed by his own people and with his own gun.

REPORTER: To you, that was justice?

BRUNNER: That was justice.

2 On Your Side's Aaron Saykin also contributed to this report.

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