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Scotland

Families of Lockerbie bombing victims remain divided

December 16 2013

Families of Lockerbie victims in the US and UK remain divided over who is to responsible for the bombing 25 years on from the atrocity. Many British families believe Libyan Abdelbaset al Megrahi, the only man convicted of the crime, was innocent. Across the Atlantic, some UK relatives have been condemned for believing “conspiracy theories”. Dr Jim Swire, father of victim Flora Swire, said: “Our governments, British and American, keep on trying to get us to believe something that’s clearly not true. “We now know beyond doubt that Megrahi was not involved in any way and there’s no evidence that Libya was ever involved.The real perpetrators were not Libyans, and they brought the bomb on board not in Malta but in Heathrow.” Martin Cadman from Norfolk, who lost his son Bill, claims that he was told by a member of a US presidential commission on aviation security that the British and US governments “know exactly whathappened but they are never going to tell”. Former US Government politician Frank Duggan served on the commission, and is currently president, pro bono adviser and attorney of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 group. He said: “I was on that presidential commission and we offered to show Cadman pictures of the people to tell us who said it, but he wouldn’t do it.” Bob Monetti from New Jersey, who lost son Rick, believes the UK families are “so enamoured with being in the press that it has clouded their vision”. Dr Swire said he does not blame the US families for their views as they had been “indoctrinated” by the US government during Megrahi’s trial in the Netherlands. The UK-based group Justice for Megrahi wants a new independent inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction and has lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee. On Saturday, remembrance ceremonies will be held at Westminster Abbey and Lockerbie as well as at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Angus & The Mearns

Criminal cases review body could be asked to decide fate of ‘big softie’ dog waiting on death row

January 27 2016

A death row rottweiler’s fate could be taken to the Scottish legal body that reviewed the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) could be asked to assess whether a miscarriage of justice may have occurred after an attempt to gain a pardon for Kai failed. The dog was sentenced to death in November by Sheriff Gregor Murray at Forfar after it attacked a Canadian tourist in Montrose in June. The animal’s owner Wendy Ross, 34, from Montrose, instructed lawyers to seek a reprieve. But judges sitting at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Appeal Court on Tuesday ruled the sheriff acted correctly and the animal has to be destroyed. “I’m absolutely devastated,” said Ms Ross following the decision. “He’s just a big softie and this wouldn’t have happened if I’d been with him. “I’m prepared to go as far as I can to save his life even if it means I have to give up ownership.” The dog remains on death row in Courier Country kennels following yesterday’s hearing in Edinburgh, But it has since emerged that the case could now go to the SCCRC. The SCCRC previously reviewed the conviction of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s appeal against his 27-year minimum jail sentence. During the trial, James Ryan, 62, also of Montrose, was found guilty of being in charge of Kai when he bit Canadian visitor Charles Andrews on the leg and arms on Lower Hall Street on June 11. The court heard the two-year-old attacked Mr Andrews as it was “protective” of a child it was walking beside. Solicitor advocate Jim Stephenson told appeal judges yesterday that experts reckoned Kai could be neutered and given a muzzle. Sheriff principal Mhairi Stephen QC who chaired the three judge appeal said: “On the day of the offence, Kai presented as a danger to the public. “Even if the dog was to be neutered and muzzled, it still shows that the dog constitutes a danger. We fail to see how the sheriff erred in law.”

Scotland

Two Libyans identified as Lockerbie bombing suspects

October 15 2015

Two Libyans have been identified as suspects in the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, Scottish prosecutors have confirmed. They believe the two individuals were involved along with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi - the only person to have been convicted of the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people were killed. Megrahi, who was released from jail by the Scottish Government in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, died in 2012 protesting his innocence. Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC recently met the US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, in Washington to review progress made in the ongoing investigation. They have now requested permission from the Libyan authorities for Scottish police and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli. A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General have recently agreed that there is a proper basis in law in Scotland and the United States to entitle Scottish and US investigators to treat two Libyans as suspects in the continuing investigation into the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. "The Lord Advocate has today, therefore, issued an International Letter of Request to the Libyan attorney general in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans as suspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103. "The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General are seeking the assistance of the Libyan judicial authorities for Scottish police officers and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli. "The two individuals are suspected of involvement, along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 in December 1988 and the murder of 270 people."

Readers' letters

February 9: Right-to-buy policy no longer sustainable

February 9 2011

Today our readers discuss the right-to-buy policy, legal sovereignty, biased news media, Fife's care homes and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Right-to-buy policy no longer sustainable Sir, Your Leader article (February 7) rightly highlights the crazy situation where councils are striving to build new homes for rent while, at the same time, suffering depletion through right-to-buy sales. The madness is compounded by being forced to sell such prized assets at a fraction of their value. I have compared Perth and Kinross Council's innovative and valiant attempts to increase the supply of affordable housing to trying to fill a bath with the plug out and now we're faced with trying to do that with the taps turned further and further down. Right to buy is long past its sell-by date. The disposal of any other council asset at knockdown prices would spark investigations for fraud and a public outcry for heads to roll. With Scottish Parliament elections drawing nearer, it will be illuminating to see which political party grasps this nettle. As to your suggested start to address land supply, in Perth and Kinross we have audited our land holdings and pioneered valuation of plots at an "affordable housing level" so that housing associations can acquire sites and develop them within the constraints in which they operate. We have also contributed significantly to housing association developments to overcome site conditions and costs so that homes can be built in the towns and villages where they are most needed by our communities. I am grateful to The Courier for its ongoing championing of affordable housing in our area. (Cllr) Peter Barrett.Housing and Health Committee,Perth and Kinross Council. Interference in Scots law Sir, While I agree with the broad thrust of David Clegg's Political Diary article about giving prisoners the vote, the intemperate language does nothing to advance the case and would be better suited to a rabid red top. It is unlikely that there are any murderers, rapists or paedophiles serving sentences of less than four years, or, as seems more likely, one year. Of course we do not need to go abroad to see other jurisdictions interfering in our domestic affairs the recent decision by the UK Supreme Court, who, supposedly, have no jurisdiction over Scots criminal law, to overturn the view of seven Scottish judges that Scottish custody law complies with European requirements, is a case in point. John Henderson.Roebrek,Linross,Glamis. Egypt bias by broadcasters Sir, I was on holiday in Tenerife when the Egyptian riots began. The television programmes on offer in foreign hotels are generally diabolical, and in Tenerife we were fed a diet of wall-to-wall news. It was so depressing, especially since every channel focused on Cairo and Alexandria. One plus was that it revealed how biased television newscasters are. They were all, without exception, featuring speakers demanding the resignation of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. I consider myself reasonably well read and aware of what is going on in the world, but I would not like to venture an opinion on Mubarak's regime. The television reports gave no background, yet the commentators were so certain that the protesters were right and Mubarak was not only wrong but downright evil and those television channels were all either American or British. It is almost as if we in the West have a death wish. Mubarak, King Hussein of Jordan and the rulers of the Gulf States are generally pro-West or at least neutral in the fundamental Islamists versus Israel and the West conflict. They are a bulwark against regimes such as Iran which are much, much more oppressive. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. Change can be for better Sir, With reference to your reports on Fife Council's decision to replace some of their care homes, it is important to remember that the consultation carried out was just that. It could not be binding and all the up-to-date facts had to be taken into account. As I understand it, some of the buildings are very old and inefficient. New homes can provide better care for the elderly more economically. The responsibility for ensuring that the care provided is up to standard lies with the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, and the public should bring pressure to ensure that their inspections are rigorous and their findings are strictly and promptly adhered to. It is natural that relatives should be concerned about change, but change can be for the better and we can and should ensure that it is. Anthony Garrett.1 Royal Terrace,Falkland. Double facing over Lockerbie Sir, So now we know the Labour Government under Gordon Brown did "all it could" to facilitate the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi. We also know that both the Bush and Obama US administrations were made aware that Labour ministers were doing all they could to release Megrahi. We can conclude that the Coalition Government must have known from a very early stage that the previous Labour administration had been doing all it could to release Megrahi. The rank hypocrisy and duplicity of past and present British and US governments, British ministers, US government officials and Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat politicians at Westminster and Holyrood over this matter is simply breathtaking. All are now accused of condemning the release of Megrahi in public while seeking the opposite in private. Malcolm McCandless.40 Muirfield Crescent,Dundee.

Scotland

Lockerbie report ‘bias’ claims made by Justice for Megrahi campaigners

March 16 2016

A group of legal experts and politicians believe the Crown should not consider a police report into criminal allegations over the authorities' handling of the Lockerbie investigation amid concerns over "bias". Police Scotland has spent three years probing nine accusations of criminality against the Crown Office, police and forensic officials who worked on the investigation into the 1988 bombing in which 270 people died. The allegations include perversion of the course of justice and perjury. The force is due to release a report imminently and campaigners who believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted of the bombing argue the findings should not be handed to the Lord Advocate and Crown Office, but to an independent prosecutor instead to consider what, if any, action should be taken. Brian McConnachie QC will join Dundee University law professor Alan Page, co-convener of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie and John Finnie MSP at a Justice for Megrahi campaign group conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday. Prior to the conference, Mr McConnachie said: "Having declared the allegations to be defamatory, unfounded, false and misleading, it is in my opinion impossible for any decision of the Lord Advocate arising out of the allegations to be seen to be impartial, objective or unbiased." Mr Harvie said: "While the Lord Advocate rightly enjoys independence and freedom from political influence when considering police reports into criminal acts, that consideration must be seen to be truly independent and not coloured by any bias or prejudice whatsoever." Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, died in 2012 having been released from a Scottish jail in 2009. The Pan Am flight was on its way from London to New York when it exploded above Lockerbie on the evening of December 21 1988, killing everyone on board and 11 people on the ground. A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Lord Advocate has repeatedly made it clearthat he has no involvement in dealing with the allegations nor will he have any involvement. "Arrangements have been put in place to ensure any prosecutorial function in relation to this matter is dealt with by independent counsel who has had no involvement in the Lockerbie investigation."

Politics

Medical revelation adds to Lockerbie bomber anniversary row

August 20 2011

The Lockerbie bomber was released on the basis of "flawed" medical evidence, a leading cancer specialist has claimed. Ms Dix, who lives in Woking, Surrey, added that too much confusion surrounds the legal process. Bob Monetti, from New Jersey in the US, who lost his son Rick in the attack, added: "Hopefully the Gaddafi regime will fall and we'll find out more. It has certainly put the Scottish Government in a bad light." Mr Monetti added that he "absolutely disagreed" with the decision to free Megrahi, and that the idea he can be properly monitored in Libya is a "joke." However, other relatives of victims and campaigners have expressed doubts about the issue, Robert Forrester of the Justice for Megrahi campaign hitting out at the "annual Lockerbie bomber blood fest." And last night a spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond again defended the process by which Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the 1988 atrocity that claimed 270 lives, was released. He said: "The medical advice to the justice secretary came from Dr Andrew Fraser, and Dr Fraser concluded that his clinical assessment was that a three-month prognosis was a reasonable estimate, drawing on the work of a range of specialists and other Scottish health service professionals involved in Al-Megrahi's care from when he was first diagnosed with cancer in 2008. "Dr Fraser is a professional of impeccable integrity. Whether people support or oppose the decision, it was made following the due process of Scots Law, we stand by it, and Al-Megrahi is dying of terminal prostate cancer." Megrahi served nearly eight years of a 27-year sentence after being convicted of killing 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988. Professor Roger Kirby said the doctor responsible for compiling the medical reports that saw Abdelbaset al-Megrahi freed on compassionate grounds two years ago today was not aware of all available treatments. He said drugs such as abiraterone, not available in the UK, are "transforming" the prospects for prostate cancer sufferers and making them live "longer and longer." Megrahi was thought to have less than three months to live when he was released from Greenock Prison on August 20, 2009. Professor Kirby's comments come as the second anniversary of the controversial decision sparks renewed criticism of the SNP Government. Relatives of victims killed in the bombing and opposition politicians at Holyrood are demanding an apology from First Minister Alex Salmond. Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray said it was a sign of First Minister Alex Salmond's "arrogance" that he has refused to apologise for releasing Megrahi. "Two years on it is clear he got it terribly wrong. He claims the decision was made on compassionate grounds, but it is time he showed some compassion for the families of the victims. "It is a further insult to the victims that he refuses still to publish all the medical evidence the release was based on. "If the decision was made for humanitarian reasons, he should do the humane thing and apologise for the pain caused to the relatives." Scottish Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont added: "It is time for an apology from Alex Salmond and the SNP." Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the bombing, said: "The fact that it's now years later means that the decision was probably made on a spurious basis. "I'm sure Kenny MacAskill made it in good faith, but why are we having this discussion now? It's just another thing that remains unsolved." Continued...

UK & World

‘He died with his family around him. My daughter died a horrible death’ pain still raw for families after death of Lockerbie bomber

May 21 2012

The Lockerbie bomber is dead, nearly three years after he was released from jail. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over the Scottish town, which claimed 270 lives. The former Libyan intelligence officer was diagnosed with prostate cancer and released from prison in August 2009 with an estimated three months to live. The decision, by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, to free the only man ever convicted of the atrocity provoked an international storm. His death in Tripoli, at the age of 60, was announced by his son, Khaled. The mother of one passenger said she hoped the convicted terrorist suffered a ''painful, horrible'' death, while a spokesman for some of Megrahi's British victims said his death was ''deeply regretted.'' Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his stance that he should never have been released while also dismissing calls for a further inquiry into the conviction. First Minister Alex Salmond said: ''Mr Megrahi's death ends one chapter of the Lockerbie case, but it does not close the book. ''However, all information which comes forward will confirm that the decisions of this administration have been in accordance with the due process of law.'' The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York four days before Christmas, killed all 259 people on board. Eleven residents of the Dumfries and Galloway town also died after the plane crashed down on their homes in Britain's biggest terrorist atrocity. After protracted international pressure, Megrahi was put on trial in the Netherlands. He was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and was ordered to serve a minimum of 27 years behind bars. Continued... Despite claims he could not have worked alone and the suspicion by some that he was innocent, Megrahi was the only man ever brought to justice over the terrorist attack. Mr MacAskill's subsequent decision to release him from Greenock prison and allow him to return home to die in Libya drew international condemnation. Scottish ministers have always insisted the move was made in good faith, on compassionate grounds alone and followed the due process of Scots law. But many strongly opposed the decision. US families were among the most vocal critics, along with US president Barack Obama. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton branded the move "absolutely wrong." American fury was compounded by the hero's welcome Megrahi received in Tripoli upon his return. Susan Cohen, whose daughter Theodora (20) was on the flight bound for John F Kennedy airport, said she believed Megrahi should have received the death penalty. Speaking from her home in New Jersey, Mrs Cohen (74), said: "He died with his family around him. My daughter died a horrible death when she was 20 years old with her full life ahead of her. You call that justice?" She continued: "I detest Megrahi, he was monstrous, and I hope his death was extremely painful and horrible." But David Ben-Ayreah, a spokesman for some of the British families who lost loved ones, described Megrahi as the "271st victim of Lockerbie." Mr Cameron moved to draw a line under calls for an inquiry into Megrahi's conviction, which the Libyan always contested. "Today is a day to remember the 270 people who lost their lives in what was an appalling terrorist act," he said. "Our thoughts should be with them and their families for the suffering they've had." Dismissing calls for an inquiry, he added: "I'm very clear that the court case was properly done and properly dealt with." First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Our first thoughts are with the families of the Lockerbie atrocity, whose pain and suffering has been ongoing now for over 23 years." He added: "The Lockerbie case remains a live investigation, and Scotland's criminal justice authorities have made clear that they will rigorously pursue any new lines of inquiry." Former Liberal Democrat leader and Scottish QC Sir Menzies Campbell said: "This brings to a satisfactory end a controversial series of events which began with the terrible and tragic loss of life over Lockerbie." Photos PA Wire

Scottish politics

Nicola Sturgeon: Only courts can decide if Lockerbie conviction is unsafe

June 2 2016

The Scottish Government has been urged to reconsider its position on the safety of the conviction of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi following the publication of a book by former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill. SNP MSP Christine Grahame, former convener of Holyrood's Justice Committee, said there is "definitely" reason to doubt its safety. Following the publication of his book, Mr MacAskill, who sparked an international outcry when he released the Libyan on compassionate grounds in 2009, said the conviction was "probably unsafe". At First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, Ms Grahame, a signatory to the Justice for Megrahi campaign, referred to key evidence relating to the clothing found in the suitcase used to carry the bomb. She said: "Given that there is an issue that the former justice secretary and the former first minister now both state that Megrahi was not the purchaser of the clothes in Malta and having regard to the findings of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) that if Megrahi was not the purchaser there was insufficient evidence to convict him, can I ask the Government to reconsider its position, and I quote, that they say there is no reason to doubt the safety of this conviction, because surely there is definitely now?" First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "It is not for me, for any First Minister or for any member of the Government to decide that a conviction is unsafe. "That is a matter for the courts of the land. That is the case in this case and it is the case in any other criminal matter." Ms Sturgeon said it remained open for Megrahi's close relatives to ask the SCCRC to refer the case to the appeal court. She added: "Ministers have repeatedly made clear that they would be comfortable if that was to happen but that is the process that must be undertaken if this case is to be looked at by the appeal court." The issue was raised by new Tory MSP Douglas Ross, who called on Ms Sturgeon to ask the new Lord Advocate to investigate Mr MacAskill over the book. Dismissing his question as "ludicrous", Ms Sturgeon responded: "In fairness to the member I know he hasn't been in parliament for very long but you know, the First Minister does not direct the Lord Advocate when it comes to investigations. That is a pretty fundamental element of our constitution." The First Minister said a draft copy of the book was provided to the Scottish Government's permanent secretary in February but she had not had the opportunity to read it herself. She added: "I'm sure it's an interesting read but of course the content of it is a matter for Kenny and for his publishers. "In terms of the Lockerbie conviction, the conviction stands, I say again as the Crown Office have said in the past that there is confidence in the safety of that conviction and of course for that conviction to be overturned there would require to be an appeal taken and an appeal being successful."

Scotland

Libyans join Lockerbie bombing probe

December 17 2013

Libya has appointed two prosecutors to work on the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, Scotland’s Lord Advocate has announced. Frank Mulholland said they will work with Scottish and US investigators who are trying to establish if there are other individuals in Libya who could be brought to trial. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people were killed. Megrahi died last year protesting his innocence. Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, British investigators have visited the country to try to uncover new evidence. Mr Mulholland said: “The court found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi guilty of the bombing but recognised it was an act of state terrorism and he did not act alone. “We are still looking for others, and the evidence leads to Libya. I went to Libya in 2012 and a Scottish and US justice law enforcement delegation met with senior officials from the Libyan government earlier this year. “Since then there has been ongoing contact and cooperation from the Libyan authorities. Recently they appointed two Libyan prosecutors who will work with Scottish and US prosecutors to assist with the investigation into the bombing. “This is a very welcome development, which I hope will bear fruit and result in bringing others to justice.” The development comes as the 25th anniversary of the bombing nears on December 21. A series of events in Lockerbie, London and Washington will be held to remember the 270 people who died. Mr Mulholland added: “As we move towards the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over the town of Lockerbie we must not lose sight of the magnitude of the tragedy which claimed 270 lives. “It is still the worst act of terrorism on UK soil. More than 400 parents lost a child, 46 parents lost their only child, seven children lost both parents, 65 women lost a husband, 11 men lost a wife and more than 140 children lost one of their parents.”

Scotland

Lockerbie bombing relatives welcome calls for Libyan suspects to be questioned

October 16 2015

Relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing 27 years ago have welcomed the identification of two Libyans as suspects in the investigation. The pair are suspected of involvement along with Abdelbaset al Megrahi - the only person convicted over the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people died. Scottish prosecutors said they want the suspects to be interviewed by police. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described it as an "interesting and potentially positive" development. The Crown Office has not confirmed the suspects' identities, but they have been named in reports as Abu Agila Mas'ud and Abdullah al-Senoussi. Megrahi, who was released from jail by the Scottish Government in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, died in 2012 protesting his innocence. Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC recently met US attorney general Loretta Lynch in Washington and they have requested assistance from Libyan authorities for Scottish police and the FBI to interview the two suspects in Tripoli. Two parents of victims of the atrocity spoke of their delight at the latest development. Susan Cohen, from New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora was killed in the bombing, told ITV News: "I'm delighted that they are doing this - we the American families have been pressing and pressing for the bombing to be properly investigated. "I want to make it clear that I think Megrahi did it but the trial was framed too narrowly. The governments have been dragging their feet and they should have been looking for other people involved, because it wasn't just Megrahi." The families of those killed have been divided over Megrahi's part in the bombing, which has been called into question in a series of books and documentaries. Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the bombing, was one of the relatives involved in a recent appeal court action on Megrahi's behalf. Scottish judges ruled that the action should not be allowed. He told the programme: "Of course I'm pleased (about the identification of suspects). If there is material that shows other people were involved then we want to know. "We want to know who murdered our families. But the big but for us is we're not satisfied the one man who was found guilty was in fact guilty. "Therefore we don't know if the Libyan regime was involved in this or not. And we've always said that." Both of the newly-identified suspects were reportedly imprisoned in Libya after the 2011 fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and Senoussi has been sentenced to death. Senoussi is said to have been Gaddafi's brother in law and head of intelligence. The crimes they have been charged with in Libya are not related to the Lockerbie bombing. The Pan Am flight was on its way from London to New York when it exploded above Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, on the evening of December 21 1988, killing everyone on board and 11 people on the ground. Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder following a trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001 and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years. Last year, exactly 26 years on from the atrocity, the Lord Advocate led a delegation of Scottish law officers who attended a memorial at the Arlington cemetery in Washington. Mr Mulholland, who addressed the service, said no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a concern about the evidence in the case and he vowed to track down Megrahi's accomplices. He has previously said the idea that Megrahi acted alone was "risible". The investigation into the bombing remains a joint one between US and Scottish prosecutors, Police Scotland and the FBI. A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Lord Advocate and the US attorney general have recently agreed that there is a proper basis in law in Scotland and the United States to entitle Scottish and US investigators to treat two Libyans as suspects in the continuing investigation into the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. "The Lord Advocate has therefore issued an international letter of request to the Libyan attorney general in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans as suspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103. "The Lord Advocate and the US attorney general are seeking the assistance of the Libyan judicial authorities for Scottish police officers and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli. "The two individuals are suspected of involvement, along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 in December 1988 and the murder of 270 people." First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped the development would lead to a trial in Scotland. And she told BBC Breakfast today: "It's an interesting and potentially positive development." She added: "The Lord Advocate made clear yesterday that he has, through the international procedure, made a request to the Libyan authorities. We now have to wait and see how that is responded to. "There are many families who still feel that they haven't had full justice in terms of what happened to their loved ones. "We in Scotland, and I know this is the case with the Lord Advocate, we're absolutely determined that if there are other people out there who were involved who can be brought to justice then there is a real determination to see that happen." Amin Khalifa Fhimah stood trial with Megrahi, but was acquitted. Megrahi lost his first court appeal in 2002 and applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) for a review of his conviction the following year. A £1.1 million investigation by the body led to a finding in June 2007 of six grounds where it believed a miscarriage of justice may have occurred. This decision opened the door to Megrahi's second appeal but he dropped it two days before being released from prison in August 2009.

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