x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Scotland asks Libya to help with Lockerbie bombing investigation

Prosecutors in Scotland looking into the 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people died seek access to evidence and witnesses from Libya's new government.

LONDON // Prosecutors in Scotland have formally asked Libya's new government to help them with the investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, officials said yesterday.

Scottish authorities want the National Transitional Council (NTC) to make evidence and witnesses available for their investigation into the attack on Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people died.

The only person convicted of the bombing, the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al Megrahi, was released on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009 after doctors said he had only three months to live. He is still alive.

The Crown Office, Scotland's public prosecution service, said there "remains an open inquiry concerning the involvement of others with Mr Megrahi in the murder of 270 people.

"The Crown will continue to pursue lines of inquiry that become available and following recent events in Libya has asked the NTC, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for assistance with the investigation," it said.

"In particular we have asked the NTC to make available to the Crown any documentary evidence and witnesses which could assist in the continuing inquiries."

The Pan Am jumbo jet exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 259 people on the plane, mainly Americans, and 11 on the ground.

A second Libyan man, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, also stood trial at a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands with Al Megrahi, but was acquitted in the trial in 2001.

Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, said in August that he would not seek Al Megrahi's extradition from the NTC after reports said he was drifting in and out of consciousness.

Conditions for Al Megrahi's early release included providing regular medical updates to Scottish authorities, which they say has not happened, and remaining in Libya.

Secret files released earlier this month showed that Muammar Qaddafi's now-toppled regime warned of "dire consequences" for relations between Libya and Britain if Al Megrahi died in jail in Scotland.