Libyan Defendants' Passports Examined at Lockerbie Trial

Published June 30th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Lockerbie trial judges have examined the passports of the two defendants in an attempt to establish their whereabouts at the time of the bombing, reported BBC.online.  

The Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands was shown photographs of a series of passports, including one under a false name, added the report. 

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah are accused of causing the air disaster almost 12 years ago while allegedly working for the Libyan Intelligence Service.  

Arabic translator Djelloul Hamaz told the court on Thursday that the passports contained various stamps from Tripoli International Airport in December 1988.  

That was the same month Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed, killing all 259 on board and 11 residents on the ground in the town of Lockerbie.  

Prosecutor Alastair Campbell QC pointed out a green-colored stamp in Fhimah's passport which he said suggested the defendant had traveled through Tripoli airport on 18 December, 1988 - three days before the explosion.  

Other stamps showed movements on 20 and 29 December.  

The court was also shown a passport in the name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad, which the indictment alleges was a false name used by Al Megrahi.  

Hamaz translated an Arabic stamp in the passport which indicated the holder left Tripoli airport on 20 December, 1988.  

He added that a passport carrying Al Megrahi's name gave his job description as "flight dispatcher".  

The court also heard that the passports carried some dates written in the Muslim calendar.  

Cross-examining Hamaz, William Taylor QC, for Al Megrahi, asked him to describe how the Muslim calendar operates.  

Hamaz said it was difficult to equate the Western and Muslim calendars.  

"Very few people would immediately give the equivalent between one on the other," he added.  

Al Megrahi, 48, and Fhimah, 44, are said to have caused a suitcase containing a Toshiba "Bombeat" radio-cassette player packed with Semtex to be placed on the Frankfurt-bound 747 from Luqa Airport, Malta, where the two men worked for Libyan Arab Airline.  

From Germany, it is claimed, it was placed aboard Flight 103 to Heathrow, exploding on the plane's next leg to New York.  

The accused men deny three alternative charges of conspiracy to murder and murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act.  

They blame others including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) for the atrocity, according to the BBC – Albawaba.com  

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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