British police review Lockerbie bombing probe

26th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Detectives are reviewing the case to establish who might have acted with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the bombing of a Pan Am jet which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

London -- Scottish police are re-examining the evidence surrounding the 1988 Lockerbie bombing as they seek new suspects in connection with the attack that killed 270 people, they said Sunday.

Detectives are reviewing the case to establish who might have acted with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the bombing of a Pan Am jet which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

The former Libyan agent was freed from a Scottish jail on compassionate release in August after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. He insists he is innocent but dropped his appeal against conviction prior to his release.

"Now that Mr. Megrahi has decided to abandon his appeal against conviction, a further review of the case is under way in respect of others who acted with him in the murder of 270 people," said Patrick Shearer, chief of Dumfries and Galloway Police.

He added: "The work that is being undertaken is the latest in a series of reviews which have formed part of an investigative strategy in keeping with our determination to pursue every possible lead."

Megrahi, 57, was convicted in January 2001 at an extraordinary Scottish court convened in the Netherlands, but has always maintained his innocence.

His release and return to Libya was strongly opposed by the United States, where many of the victims had lived.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office prosecuting authority in Scotland said there was "no question" of re-opening the case against him.

"The open case concerns only the involvement of others with Megrahi in the murder of 270 people and the Crown will continue to pursue such lines of inquiry that become available," she said.

"The trial court accepted the Crown's position that Mr. Megrahi acted in furtherance of the Libyan intelligence services and did not act alone."

Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC that the investigation "was not formally closed and that's why it's wholly appropriate if there are grounds for taking new steps, that they should be taken."

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that four detectives were now working full-time on the case to follow up any new potential leads.

Jean Berkley, whose 29-year-old son Alistair died in the attack as he flew to New York to see his parents for the Christmas holidays, welcomed the news.

"It has to be encouraging that there is some kind of taking a fresh look," the 79-year-old told AFP, adding: "We have to try to keep them to that."

Despite this, she and other relatives continue to demand a full public inquiry into who planned the bombing and why, and put this request to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in a letter on Friday.

"We are still calling for an inquiry because there seem to be so many unanswered questions," Berkley said.

However, a spokesman for Brown's Downing Street office said: "It is our belief that nothing can be gained from a public inquiry."

AFP/Expatica

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