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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 13:45 GMT
Relatives continue justice quest
Jack and Kathleen Flynn
Jack and Kathleen Flynn lost their son in the bombing
The 27-year minimum jail term handed down to the Lockerbie bomber has provoked varied reactions from victims' relatives.

Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison two years ago for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, in which 270 people died.

On Monday, three judges at the High Court in Glasgow set the punishment part of Megrahi's sentence stating that he cannot be considered for release until he has served 27 years.

Relatives of British victims continued their calls for an independent inquiry.

Spokesman David Ben-Aryeah said many families still have "continuing serious doubts" about "many aspects" of the case.

It is my fond hope that he dies in jail and that he doesn't die in such a pleasant cell.
Dan Cohen,
US relative
He said: "In any family one experiences differences of philosophy and opinion, sometimes deeply felt and emotionally expressed.

"Therefore it is both normal and understandable that there are many different opinions and feelings about today's hearing, given that 270 victims from 21 nations and seven faiths died at Lockerbie and that their relatives and friends number over 1,000.

"We have all to accept the verdict and the fact that the sentence is life imprisonment, although many of our group have continuing serious doubts about many aspects of the case, which we feel will only be answered by a full and independent inquiry."

Mr Ben-Aryeah added: "In respect of the length of life sentence tariff we are content to leave this as a matter between the Crown, the defence and their lordships in the sincere hope that they shall fix the tariff as a 'punishment' and not as any form of revenge or vengeance."

Lockerbie crash
The 1988 bombing killed 270 people
Kathleen and Jack Flynn, whose son John Patrick was killed in the 1988 atrocity, said they were consoling themselves with the fact that Megrahi was convicted and that Libya apologised for the bombing.

Mrs Flynn said: "Mr Megrahi would never again walk the earth as a free man as far as my justice is concerned.

"We are not vindictive people. We are not looking for vengeance. We are looking for justice, and justice is not 27 years."

Her husband Jack said: "You have to consider that this was 270 people. He deliberately did it.

"I want this person to have the maximum sentence because of what he did.

"He killed 270 people, I think he should spend life in prison. No parole."

'Great fears'

Dan Cohen, 67, from New Jersey, whose daughter Theo died in the bombing, said: "You have 270 people killed and there is no way to make the punishment fit the crime but symbolically, I suppose, this is pretty much the maximum that was expected in the Scottish system.

"So symbolically it's important and that's a good thing.

"From a very personal point of view, one of my great fears had been that I would live long enough to see Megrahi released from prison to go home to Libya to a hero's welcome, which he will certainly get there.

Marina de Larracoechea
Marina de Larracoechea's sister Mieves was killed
"This makes it less likely so I'm gratified, personally, for that respect."

Mr Cohen said he believed the longest possible sentence was a "moral statement" and important in showing that Megrahi should face the most that Scots law could throw at him.

Mr Cohen added: "It is my fond hope that he dies in jail and that he doesn't die in such a pleasant cell."

Marina de Larracoechea, whose sister Mieves was killed, told reporters outside the court: "There are issues critically painful to the victims that have not yet been heard.

"The international intelligence community had precise information that something like this was going to happen.

"We are the victims of the Scottish criminal system."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"Prosecutors are considering going back to court to press for an even longer sentence"



SEE ALSO:
Lockerbie bomber to serve 27 years
24 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Lockerbie bomber launches appeal
23 Sep 03  |  Scotland
UN lifts Libya sanctions
12 Sep 03  |  Africa
Libya agrees Lockerbie deal
14 Aug 03  |  Scotland


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