Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison recently. The move was called "compassionate" by Scottish officials, because he has only a few weeks to live with terminal cancer.
When he landed in Libya, according to newspapers, "thousands were on hand to greet him warmly when his plane from Scotland touched down at a military airport in Tripoli. There was a festive atmosphere with some wearing t-shirts with al-Megrahi's picture. Others waved Libyan and Scottish flags while Libyan songs blared."
In 2001, the terrorist was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 which killed 270 people. He has been considered a hero in Libya, which is 97% Islamic.
President Obama released an official statement, saying that the decision to free terminally ill Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds was a mistake and warned Libya not to give him a hero's welcome. The White House declared it "deeply" regretted the Scottish decision. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday the United States disagreed with the decision to free al-Megrahi.
We continue to believe that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland," Gibbs said. "On this day, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who live every day with the loss of their loved ones."