Friday 9 December 2016

Two Libyans identified as new suspects in infamous Lockerbie bombing

Michael Holden

Published 15/10/2015 | 17:57

The wreckage of Pan Am flight 103 aircraft that exploded killing all 259 people aboard Credit: ROY LETKEY (Getty Images)
The wreckage of Pan Am flight 103 aircraft that exploded killing all 259 people aboard Credit: ROY LETKEY (Getty Images)

Scottish investigators want to interview two Libyans they have identified as new suspects over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which claimed the lives of 270 people.

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The prosecutors believe the two suspects were involved, along with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi - the only person to have been convicted of the atrocity.

Pam Am flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21 in 1988 en route from London to New York.

In 2001, Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was jailed for life and remains the only person to have been convicted over the bombing.

Read More: Civil war in Libya means chance of compensation for Gaddafi/IRA victims is slim

A Scottish Crown Office spokesman said the two unnamed Libyans were now suspected of being involved with Megrahi in carrying out the attack.

"The Lord Advocate has today ... issued an International Letter of Request to the Libyan Attorney General in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans as suspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103," the spokesman said.

"The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General are seeking the assistance of the Libyan judicial authorities for Scottish police officers and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli."

Read More: Lockerbie bombing 'work of Iran, not Libya'

In 2003, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accepted his country's responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families, but he did not admit personally ordering the attack.

Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 in a farmer's field east of Lockerbie, Scotland Credit: Greg Bos
Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 in a farmer's field east of Lockerbie, Scotland Credit: Greg Bos

Megrahi, who always protested his innocence, died in Libya in 2012, three years after he was released by Scotland's government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

His family and some relatives of the Scottish victims believe he was wrongly convicted.

Read More: Lockerbie remembers, 25 years on

In December last year, Scotland's top prosecutor said no new evidence had emerged to cast doubt on Megrahi's conviction, but said attempts to track down accomplices had been hampered by the violence which has engulfed Libya since Gaddafi's fall.

Most of the victims of the explosion over Lockerbie were Americans on their way home for Christmas.

Eleven people died on the ground as the New York-bound jet crashed when a bomb exploded in its hold some 40 minutes after leaving London's Heathrow airport.

Reuters

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