Lockerbie Trial: Conviction of Libyan Agent Upheld
A special Scottish court in the Netherlands has upheld the conviction of a Libyan intelligence agent sentenced to life in prison for the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, it was reported Thursday.
The five-judge panel unanimously rejected the appeal by Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the court's decision would bring comfort to the families of the victims.
AFP quoted Libya's Foreign Ministry as saying the court's decision was a political verdict made under pressure exerted by Washington and London.
Al-Megrahi was convicted last year of planting in 1988 a suitcase bomb that blasted on board the Pan Am passenger jet, killing 270 passengers and crew-members. He was sentenced to life in prison.
According to prosecutors, the bomb was planted amongst suitcases at the Malta airport and later transferred to the doomed airliner.
During appeal proceedings, lawyers for al-Megrahi presented witnesses who testified about a break-in at London's Heathrow airport baggage area the night before the New York destined flight.
The defense contended the testimony undermined the prosecution's conclusions about where the bomb had originated.
The special three-judge Scottish court that sentenced al-Megrahi to life in prison said he ought to serve a minimum of 20 years in jail.
The court, which met at a former U.S. military base in the Netherlands, Camp Zeist, acquitted al-Megrahi's co-defendant, Al-amin Khalifa Fahima. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)