Father of Lockerbie victim welcomes Libya defection

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The father of a victim of the Lockerbie bombing said Thursday that Libya's former intelligence chief may be able to shed light on the 1988 attack after he defected to Britain.

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among 270 people killed when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, welcomed the arrival of Libyan foreign minister Mussa Kussa in Britain late Wednesday.

"Kussa was at the centre of (Libyan leader Moamer) Kadhafi's inner circle. This is a guy who knows everything," Swire said.

"I think this is a fantastic day for those who seek the truth about Lockerbie. He could tell us everything the Kadhafi regime knows."

Swire added: "Today those relatives who seek the truth about why their families were murdered should be rejoicing."

Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi was convicted of the attack in 2001 but was released from a Scottish jail in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal cancer.

Many of the victims' families have been calling for an independent investigation into the atrocity to fill the gaps left by Megrahi's trial about why he did it and who ordered the bombing.

Former Libyan justice minister Mustapha Abdel Jalil told Swedish daily Expressen in February that Kadhafi had personally ordered the attack.

"If Libya was involved in Lockerbie, he (Kussa) can tell us how they carried out the atrocity and why," Swire said.

"I would be appalled if by now the Scottish police are not in England interviewing Mr Kussa. It is a great day for us."

© 2011 AFP

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