Libya's NTC says Lockerbie case closed

LONDON Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:01pm EDT

A couple shelters from the rain under an umbrella as they look at the main headstone in the Lockerbie air disaster memorial garden in Lockerbie, Scotland, August 19, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir

A couple shelters from the rain under an umbrella as they look at the main headstone in the Lockerbie air disaster memorial garden in Lockerbie, Scotland, August 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/David Moir

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - The investigation into the 1988 bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland is closed and Tripoli will not release more evidence that could lead to others being charged, Libya's interim leaders said on Monday.

The British Foreign Office, however, said the investigation into the bombing "remains open."

Scottish prosecutors had asked Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) to give them access to papers or witnesses that could implicate more suspects, possibly including deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya's interim justice minister Mohammed al-Alagi turned them down, telling reporters: "The case is closed."

But the Foreign Office in London said it had talked with the NTC late on Monday and it had promised continued cooperation.

"NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil has already assured the prime minister that the Libyan authorities will cooperate with the UK in this and other ongoing investigations," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

"Having spoken with the NTC this evening, we understand that this remains the case. The police investigation into the Lockerbie bombing remains open and the police should follow the evidence wherever it leads them."

Former Libyan agent Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001 and sent to a Scottish prison to serve a life sentence. The Scottish government released him and sent him back to Libya on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he had cancer and was thought to have only months to live.

His release and return to a hero's welcome in Libya angered many in Britain and the United States, home to most of the victims.

Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was among those killed in the attack, told Reuters in an emailed statement: "Suggesting that the Lockerbie case is closed is ludicrous.

"I am not surprised that the new interim government might want to avoid getting involved, but this is a miserable attempt to avoid a perfectly reasonable request for any information or evidence that there might be in Libya. Perhaps there is nothing."

No one at Scotland's public prosecution service was available to comment on the Libyan minister's statement. A spokesman earlier said Scotland had asked the NTC to supply "any documentary evidence and witnesses which could assist in the ongoing inquiries."

"Lockerbie remains an open enquiry concerning the involvement of others with Mr Megrahi in the murder of 270 people," the spokeswoman said before the Libyan statement.

GADDAFI ACCUSED

Scottish prosecutors also noted that Megrahi's trial court had accepted he had not acted alone.

Police at the time said they had submitted a list of eight other suspects whom they wanted to interview but that Gaddafi had refused to allow them to be questioned.

In March, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Libya's former justice minister and now its interim leader, said he had evidence of Gaddafi's involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Megrahi's co-accused at the specially convened Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands in 2000 was Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah who was cleared of mass murder.

He told Sweden's Expressen newspaper last month that Gaddafi should be tried in court over widespread suspicions he ordered the bombing.

"There is a court and he is the one to explain whether he is innocent or not," Fhimah said. "He has to."

(Reporting by William Maclean in Tripoli and Peter Griffiths, Stephen Addison and Michael Holden in London; Writing by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Robert Wooward)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
JamVee wrote:
The stupidity of the Brits and our own Congress amazes me! The Libyans don’t even have a functioning government yet. K-Daffy hasn’t even been captured yet. The Libyans are struggling with chaos on every front, and our (and the Brits) “Diplomatic” lawmakers are asking them for cooperation on the Lockerbie bomber. How about waiting a while, dontcha think they may have “bigger fish to fry” right now . . . YOU IDIOTS! You were asking for the rebuff that you got.

Sep 26, 2011 3:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Renox wrote:
You can’t skin a donkey twice. The British Government and the family members have already been compensated once. They got billions! If they had any self respect they should have refused the money. The Bush Government gave immunity to Libya from any terror related lawsuits in 2004. There was also a $300 million compensation package to Lybian victims killed by the US revenge airstrike ordered by Reagan. The world is ruled by Barbarians!

Sep 26, 2011 5:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Rfairb wrote:
Trying to scrape for some more justifications for taking over Libya for the media to trumpet.

Sep 26, 2011 7:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.