Scottish prosecutors ask Libya to help Lockerbie probe

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Prosecutors in Scotland have formally asked Libya's new government to help them with the investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, officials said Monday.

Scottish authorities in particular want the National Transitional Council (NTC) to make evidence and witnesses available for their probe into the attack on Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people died.

The only person convicted of the bombing, Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, was released on compassionate grounds on August 20, 2009 after doctors said he had only three months to live. He is still alive.

The Crown Office, Scotland's public prosecution service, said in a statement that there "remains an open enquiry concerning the involvement of others with Mr. Megrahi in the murder of 270 people.

"The Crown will continue to pursue lines of enquiry that become available and following recent events in Libya has asked the NTC, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for assistance with the investigation," it said.

"In particular we have asked the NTC to make available to the Crown any documentary evidence and witnesses, which could assist in the ongoing enquiries."

The Pan Am jumbo jet exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 259 people on the plane, mainly Americans, and 11 on the ground.

A second Libyan man, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, also stood trial at a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands with Megrahi, but was acquitted in the trial in 2001.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said in August that he would not seek Megrahi's extradition from the NTC after reports said he was drifting in and out of consciousness.

Conditions for Megrahi's early release included providing regular medical updates to Scottish authorities, which they say has not happened, and remaining in Libya.

Secret files released earlier this month showed that Moamer Kadhafi's now-toppled regime warned of "dire consequences" for relations between Libya and Britain if Megrahi died in jail in Scotland.

© 2011 AFP

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