Last Updated: Fri Oct 21, 2011 08:42 am (KSA) 05:42 am (GMT)

‘Hope Qaddafi’s in hell with Hitler,’ say Lockerbie families; Bulgarian nurses say justice served

Relatives of Lockerbie victims say that justice has been served now that Muammar Qaddafi is dead.
Relatives of Lockerbie victims say that justice has been served now that Muammar Qaddafi is dead.

Relatives of victims of the flight blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, by Libyan agents 23 years ago said justice was served with the death of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on Thursday, but they also hoped it would reveal who else was behind the attack.

“I hope he’s in hell with Hitler,” said Kathy Tedeschi, whose first husband, Bill Daniels, was among the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103.

“I saw it on the TV when I was ... (at the gym), I just can’t stop crying, I am so thrilled,” said Tedeschi, 62, who had three children with Daniels. “I am sure (Qaddafi) was the one who pushed to have this done, the bombing.”

Qaddafi was killed on Thursday, sparking wild celebrations that eight months of war in Libya may finally be over. Details of the fallen strongman’s death were hazy but it was announced by several officials of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and backed up by a photograph of a bloodied face ringed by familiar, Qaddafi-style curly hair.

Bob Monetti, whose son Richard, 20, was killed in the Lockerbie bombing said: “The world is a much better place without Qaddafi and Libya is certainly much better off.”

“I hope we can get some more information and get on with our lives,” he said. “I am way past vengeance.”

The PanAm airliner exploded as it flew to New York from London on Dec. 21, 1988. All 259 people aboard the aircraft were killed and 11 others on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie also died from falling wreckage.

Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was the only person found guilty of murder in the 1988 bombing of the airliner. He was convicted in January 2001 by a three-judge Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. The court acquitted his co-defendant, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima.

“We know that there are more people involved, we’re hoping that in the records and files that will turn up as a result of the overthrow of Qaddafi will give more evidence of other people’s involvement,” said Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of PanAm 103 group.

“But it was clear that Qaddafi himself ordered this.”

Tortured Bulgarian nurses say Qaddafi deserved death

Meanwhile, five Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya for eight years over an HIV scandal on Thursday welcomed news of Muammar Qaddafi’s death saying the Libyan strongman had “got what he deserved.”

“The news made me very happy. It’s a punishment. A dog like him deserved to die like a dog,” Valya Chervenyashka told AFP.

The nurses were tortured and twice sentenced to death under Qaddafi’s regime.

Valentina Siropolu, another of the nurses who were freed in 2007, said: “I am really happy, I was expecting it. He got what he deserved.”

Two others, Snezhana Dimitrova and Kristiana Valcheva, however struck a different note.

“I would have been happy if he had been captured alive too,” said Valcheva.

“I can’t be happy about anyone’s death, even my enemy,” added Dimitrova.

All five said they wanted Libya’s new leaders to exonerate them.

“The Bulgarian government’s main goal should be to demand that our innocence be recognized,” said Chervenyashka.

“Qaddafi’s death doesn’t make me feel better, I claim my innocence,” added Dimitrova.

The five Bulgarian nurses, along with a Palestinian-born doctor, were jailed in Libya in 1999 for allegedly infecting 438 children with HIV-tainted blood at a pediatric hospital in Benghazi.

Experts, including Luc Montagnier, the French virologist credited with co-discovering the HIV virus, testified however that the epidemic was due to poor hygiene.

The case sparked an international outcry, eventually leading to the medics’ release and return to Bulgaria in 2007 where they were immediately pardoned by Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov.

On Thursday, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said he would “keep insisting categorically” that the nurses’ innocence be recognized by Tripoli.

“It is important for us to see the archives of the secret services, which should demonstrate the political motivations behind the trial against our nurses,” he told public radio.

Reacting to Qaddafi’s death, Mladenov said “it is the fate of every dictator.”

“Let this be a warning to all dictators; they cannot subject their people indefinitely to torture and humiliation.”

The minister added he hoped Bulgaria would help rebuild the Libyan army and police force, as well as healthcare facilities where many Bulgarian nurses have continued to work, even during the unrest.

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