Ex-minister says Gaddafi ordered Lockerbie: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:29

Stockholm: Swedish tabloid Expressen says
Libya`s ex-justice minister claims Moammar Gaddafi personally
ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988.

Expressen today quoted Mustafa Abdel-Jalil as telling
their correspondent in Libya that "I have proof that Gaddafi
gave the order about Lockerbie." He didn`t describe the proof.

Abdel-Jalil stepped down as justice minister to
protest the violence against anti-government demonstrations.

He told Expressen Gaddafi gave the order to Abdel
Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan
Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed all 259
people on board and 11 on the ground.

"To hide it, he (Gaddafi) did everything in his power
to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland," Abdel-Jalil was quoted
as saying.

Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a
Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was
suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. He is still
alive.

Expressen spokeswoman Alexandra Forslund said its
reporter, Kassem Hamade, interviewed the ex-justice minister
at "a local parliament in a large city in Libya." She didn`t
want to name the city, citing security concerns.

Expressen taped the interview, which was conducted in
Arabic and translated to Swedish, Forslund said. Gaddafi has
been trying to bring his country out of isolation, announcing
in 2003 that he was abandoning his program for weapons of mass
destruction and renouncing terrorism.

Gaddafi also accepted Libya`s responsibility for the
Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims`
families. But he hasn`t admitted personally giving the order
for the attack.

Most of the victims in the Lockerbie bombing were
Americans, and al-Megrahi`s release has been criticized by
members of the US Congress and the victims` families.

Bob Monetti, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, whose
20-year-old son Richard was killed in the bombing, said he`s
glad to hear a former official say what`s been clear to him
all along. He said officials and the media, especially in the
UK, have been denying that.

"Ever since the trial, which was held in a totally
obscure location in Holland and was covered by nobody, there`s
been a drumbeat in the UK about how this is a trumped up thing
and Libya had nothing to do with it," he said.

"If you went to the trial, there was no question about
who did it and why, and who ordered it."

Monetti said he`s been following coverage of the
Libyan uprising closely. "I can`t wait until we see pictures
of Gaddafi hanging by his heels," he said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:29

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