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Legal Analyst and former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey interviewed.

"It is a dark day for international justice. Think of how much this undermines one nation’s ability to have confidence in the legal system of another, especially at a time when more than ever we truly need global cooperation and - this is something the United Kingdom would do to us - one of our closest and most trusted allies, it’s really got to raise very troubling questions about our ability to let other countries address situations which involve our own citizens."

Kendall Coffey
Legal Analyst

Transcripts

NEWS INTERVIEW - HLN Prime News
Aired August 20, 2009 5:31 PM

AL MEGRAHI IS RELEASED

Kendall Coffey interview HLN Prime News: Al Megrahi Released

 

MICHAEL GALANOS: This is just wrong. The guy responsible for killing 270 people by blowing Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky is now a free man. One hundred eight-nine Americans were killed when a plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, just four days before Christmas 1988 and the terrorists who took their lives only served eight years of his sentence. Abdul Baset Al MeGrahi was convicted in 2001. Now he has terminal prostate cancer and only has three months to live so Scotland decided to release him on compassionate grounds. Let him die in his home in Libya. Now his plane landed just a short time ago. This is video we’re just getting in and this is disturbing that he gets a hero’s welcome. There you see it. Festive songs, T-shirts, his picture on it, couldn’t even imagine. Many of the families of the victims outraged. He gets mercy. What about the victims? We’ll take your calls. Here to talk about this let’s welcome back Kendall Coffey, former U.S. Attorney. Also with us Kathleen Flynn, her son died in the attack some 20 years ago.

Kathleen, this has to be a nightmare for you to see this man free today…..

(KATHLEEN FLYNN and GALANOS speak about situation)

MICHAEL GALANOS: Kendall, I’ve got to ask you about this ruling. Compassionate grounds? What do you make of it?

KENDALL COFFEY: It is a dark day for international justice. Think of how much this undermines one nation’s ability to have confidence in the legal system of another, especially at a time when more than ever we truly need global cooperation and - this is something the United Kingdom would do to us - one of our closest and most trusted allies, it’s really got to raise very troubling questions about our ability to let other countries address situations which involve our own citizens.

KATHLEEN FLYNN: I couldn’t agree with you more sir. That’s exactly the words I expressed this morning.

MICHAEL GALANOS: I have to ask you, I hate to ask you. But as we see the video of him getting the hero’s welcome.

KATHLEEN FLYNN: We called it, we said that that was our biggest fear. We kept saying he will get a hero’s welcome in Libya when he returns. The symbolism today while this was going on was so poignant, because here was this enormous white plane, fabulous jet plane that was scooping him back to Libya and the symbolism of that plane and our plane that he blew up was very very strong and to have him… it was like a victory parade. There were all these cars following him to the airport and it was this grandiose exit from Scotland. It was very very disturbing.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Kathleen take us through your emotions this day.

KATHLEEN FLYNN: Of sadness, anger, despair. It goes back to an article that appears today that I did an interview for and my quote was “Scotland has betrayed us.”

MICHAEL GALANOS: Kendall, let’s go back to the judge here on a legal front. The judge again saying mercy must be shown - compassion available so use it - if available here. How does a judge answer the question, “what about compassion for the 270 victims?” And it was agreed upon internationally, he was going to spend the rest of his life in jail.

KENDALL COFFEY: Well, absolutely. It’s unfathomable that his compassion would be so dramatically misplaced away from the victims to the perpetrators of one of the worse crimes you could image. And consider this - people do die in prison. Under our system that’s what supposed to happen. That’s what a life sentence means. You have taken away your right to ever walk out again under any circumstances. And by the way be mighty lucky you’re not heading for the death sentence. But that’s what it’s supposed to mean. And now in least in some parts of the world one of our trusted allies life sentence doesn’t mean what it says.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Kathleen, there was a statement released through Al Megrahi’s lawyer. Let’s listen to that…..

Tony Kelly: “To those victims’ relatives who can bear to hear me say this, they continue to have my sincere sympathy for their unimaginable loss that they have suffered. To those of them the only thing I can say is I (unintelligible)…”

MICHAEL GALANOS: I don’t know how you can stand it.

KATHLEEN FLYNN: It’s almost ridiculously simplistic and it’s insulting in a way that anyone would actually say that to a family member on a day like this. Take it from whence it came. If you’re going to defend a man who had murdered 270 innocent people then I’m not surprised you make those kinds of statements.

MICHAEL GALANOS: Well, Kathleen, our heart goes out to you on a day like this. We love your fighting spirit. Thank you for joining us. Kendall, you as well.

KENDALL COFFEY: Thanks.