US Lockerbie probe 'open and active' - official

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The US Department of Justice told senators in a letter released Thursday that its probe into the 1988 Lockerbie attack was "open and active" and could benefit from recent upheaval in Libya.

"The investigation into the bombing remains open and active," Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich told Democratic Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg.

"The Department of Justice shares your interest in recent events in Libya that may reveal additional information about those involved in the bombing," Weich said in a letter dated August 24 and released by Menendez's office.

Weich said the department was "aware of recent media reports" that former Libyan justice minister Mustapha Abdel Jalil claims to have evidence implicating longtime Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi in the attack.

"The department shares your outrage that other individuals responsible for the murders may have escaped prosecution," Weich said in the letter.

"The department remains actively engaged in this investigation and will continue to follow any leads that could result in evidence to support a criminal prosecution," said Weich.

Menendez released the letter shortly after US officials said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had urged Libyan rebel leaders in Paris Thursday to jail ailing Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi.

Megrahi is the only person convicted of the in-flight bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

The United States has long criticized the decision by Scottish authorities in August 2009 to release Megrahi early on compassionate grounds, in the belief that he had only months to live because of prostate cancer.

More than two years later, he is alive and living in Tripoli, although his brother said he is drifting in and out of a coma.

© 2011 AFP

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