Bombing victims' families relive tragedy

August 20, 2009 7:19:51 PM PDT
Relatives of the victims of a 1988 plane bombing in Scotland are outraged, because the only terrorist convicted in the case was freed from prison Thursday.

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For the brother of one victim of Pan Am Flight 103, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's release has him re-living the horror. Maybe never has an act of humanitarian compassion created such controversy. It began with boos and jeers outside a Scottish prison and continued with a hero's welcome in Libya.

Al-Megrahi is the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Thursday, Scottish officials sent him home to Libya, to die of prostate cancer.

The bomb on the London to New York flight killed 270 people in the air and on the ground.

Edgar Eggelston had been in seat 32-D.

His brother, Will, works at a restaurant in Los Gatos.

"Just using the word 'humanitarian' for someone responsible for 270 deaths is just disgusting," Will Eggelston said.

As it turns out, Will's brother Edgar, would not have been on that flight if not for a family tragedy that was already unfolding. Their mother had brain cancer. The day after the crash, she died. Then, their grandmother died. There were three deaths in a family in less than a week.

"It rips the wound back open, I mean, I have been suppressing for years, the pain, the anguish," Will Eggelston said.

A hero's welcome in Libya for al-Megrahi only added salt to that wound. To this day, al-Megrahi has said he's innocent. Even some families of British victims have supported him.

"I think it would be inhuman, indeed downright cruel to keep the man in prison to die," one said.

American politicians have been less forgiving.

"Too bad he didn't allow over 200 people the same comfort of dying at home in a timely fashion," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said.

But regardless, a convicted bomber is now home.

And in Los Gatos, Will Eggleston wears his brother's ring on his finger as a remembrance.

Humanitarian compassion has no part in it.

"Someone was finally brought to justice after being hidden for 10 years, and for that person to be released, what does that do for the memory of the people who were killed," Will Eggelston said.

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