(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Charles Schumer says it's time to play hardball with the new rulers of Libya.
The New York Democrat said Wednesday that if the Transitional National Council refuses to hand over Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi to the U.S., Washington should refuse to provide any financial aid to the TNC.
That’s not likely, however, since the Obama administration is preparing to release $1.5 billion in funds Gadhafi kept in the U.S. to the TNC while pressing them to review the al-Megrahi case.
Schumer, who complained two years ago when Scottish authorities released al-Megrahi from custody on compassionate grounds, said, "We put American lives and money on the line to help the Libyan people secure their freedom. It’s time the Libyan government lives up to its commitment to create a free and accountable society by handing over al-Megrahi so that justice can finally be done."
Many of the 270 people killed when a bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988 were Americans returning home for Christmas. Al-Megrahi, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, was the only person convicted in the bombing and is currently described as close to death at a villa north of Tripoli.
For now, the TNC refuses to give him up. Libyan Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said, "Megrahi has already been judged once and he will not be judged again. We do not hand over Libyan citizens. Gadhafi does."
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