Latest from the Crown Office

The Crown Office today issued this press release, which states:

Today the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, and the Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, Pat Shearer, together with Scottish prosecutors and Scottish and US law enforcement met with the UK families of the Lockerbie victims in London.

The families were advised that a formal request has been drawn up and sent to the new Libyan Government requesting access to Libya for police officers and prosecutors to examine information and documents relating to lines of enquiry.

Assuming the Libyan government grants the request, it will not be the first time that the police and prosecutors have been to Libya. In November 1999 a police team, led by Senior Investigating Officer Tom McCulloch, conducted investigations in Tripoli and in June 2000 a 10-strong team of police officers and procurator fiscals spent two weeks interviewing 60 potential defence witnesses.

During the November trip a Libyan court handed over the file relating to Abdelbaset’s false passport, which was in the name of Abdusamad. According to the head of the FBI’s Lockerbie investigation, Richard Marquise, only then were the prosecutors able to prove that he was the same Abdusamad, who, according to records from Malta, had travelled from Tripoli to Malta on the afternoon of 20 December 1988 (the day before the bombing) and left on the morning of the 21st. In his memoir, Scotbom: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation, Marquise writes:

The file for Abdusamad contained only one document, a letter from the Libyan Intelligence Service to the Passport Office. This single piece of correspondence requested a coded (false) passport for Megrahi and requested it to be in the name of Abdusamad. When the presiding magistrate heard this in court, he slapped his forehead as if to say, ‘I cannot believe anyone could have left this in the file all these years.’

Oh really? If the passport was used to cover his role in mass murder, why would the Libyan authorities have bothered keeping any kind of file? And, more importantly, why would Abdelbaset have kept the passport for more than 10 years before handing it in when he arrived for trial in Holland? Marquise writes: ‘No one would have guessed Megrahi would bring his false passport to the trial with him.’  No one who believed him to be guilty, certainly, but it could also be viewed as the action of someone with nothing to hide.

One well-informed source to whom the current investigators should be speaking is Mohamed al-Alagi, who was the interim government’s first justice minister. As a former member of Abdelbaset’s Libyan defence team, he is familiar with the case and, as leading anti-Gadafy figure, he will surely be happy to help uncover evidence of the old regime’s involvement in the bombing.

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