Timeline of Lockerbie legal, diplomatic twists

20th May 2012, Comments 0 comments

Here is a timeline of the legal and diplomatic twists since the 1988 plane bombing over the Scottish town of Lockerbie for which only Libya's Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, who died on Sunday, was convicted.


-- December 21: Pan Am flight 103 from London's Heathrow airport to New York explodes over Lockerbie, killing all 259 people on board and 11 people in the town.


-- November 14: Britain and the United States accuse Megrahi and another Libyan, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, of the bombing. Libya denies any involvement and says it will not hand them over.


-- April 5: Megrahi and Fhimah are handed over by Libyan officials and flown to the Netherlands. The move is hailed as "an historic moment" by Britain.


-- May 3: Trial opens in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands under Scottish law. Megrahi and Fhimah are charged with conspiracy, murder and contravention of aviation security laws. Their handover followed years of wrangling between Britain, the US, and Libya which ended when they agreed to a trial in a neutral country.


-- January 31: Megrahi is found guilty of mass murder and jailed for life, with a minimum term of 20 years. Fhimah is found not guilty and freed.


-- January 23: Megrahi's appeal begins before a panel of five judges at Camp Zeist.

-- March 14: Judges uphold Megrahi's conviction.

-- March 16: Megrahi begins his sentence at a Scottish prison.


-- August 14: Libya agrees compensation for the victims of the bombing after months of talks with British and US officials, prompting a lifting of UN sanctions in September.

-- November 24: Megrahi is told he must serve at least 27 years in prison following the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into Scottish law.


-- November 14: Three judges refuse Megrahi's application for interim release due to a diagnosis of advanced stage prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, saying he could live for years depending on the success of his treatment.


-- April 28: Lawyers for Megrahi launch a second appeal against his conviction in Scotland, saying he was convicted on circumstantial evidence and alleging a miscarriage of justice.

-- May 6: Officials say Libya has applied for Megrahi to be transferred to his homeland after Britain and Libya signed an accord on an exchange of prisoners.

-- July 25: Megrahi's lawyers apply for his release on compassionate grounds because of his prostate cancer, Scottish officials say.

-- August 12: British media reports that Megrahi will be freed on compassionate grounds within days.

-- August 14: Megrahi's lawyers announce that he is abandoning his second appeal, removing one hurdle in the way of a prison transfer back to Libya.

-- August 18: The decision to drop the appeal is approved by the High Court in Edinburgh.

-- August 20: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announces his decision on Megrahi's fate.


-- September 29: Experts contest before the US Senate the health grounds on which Scottish judicial authorities decided to release the convicted Libyan.


- August 29: Brother says Megrahi is in a coma.

- September 28: Libyan authorities say they are ready to cooperate with Scottish authorities in questioning other suspects.

- October 23: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls for return of Megrahi to serve out the rest of his prison term.


- April 14: Megrahi hospitalised in Tripoli.

- May 20: Megrahi dies.

© 2012 AFP

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