Thursday, 31 March 2011

Lockerbie bombing prosecutors target Libyan defector Moussa Koussa

[This is the headline over a report just published on the website of The Guardian. It reads in part:]

Scottish prosecutors have asked to interview Moussa Koussa about the Lockerbie bombing after the Libyan foreign minister and spy chief defected to Britain.

The request from the Crown Office in Scotland follows demands from Libya's rebel leadership for Koussa to be returned to Libya for trial for murder and crimes against humanity after Muammar Gaddafi is toppled from power.

William Hague, the British foreign secretary, has said the UK is not offering Koussa immunity from prosecution.

The Crown Office in Edinburgh has said it is formally asking for its prosecutors and detectives from Dumfries and Galloway police to question Koussa about the 1988 bombing. "We have notified the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that the Scottish prosecuting and investigating authorities wish to interview Mr Koussa in connection with the Lockerbie bombing," it said.

"The investigation into the Lockerbie bombing remains open and we will pursue all relevant lines of inquiry."

Dumfries and Galloway police, which investigated the Lockerbie case, has confirmed its detectives are keen to interview Koussa.

It remains unclear what role Koussa played when Pan Am flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in December 1988, killing 270 passengers, crew and townspeople. He later emerged as head of Libyan intelligence services. (...)

Senior figures in the Lockerbie case – including Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the attack, and Professor Robert Black, a lawyer and architect of the trial of two Libyans accused of the atrocity – have said they believe Koussa might have significant information about Libya's role.

Koussa was pivotal in the negotiations to hand over the two suspects – Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifah Fhimah – for trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001. He oversaw Libya's negotiations to pay billion of pounds in reparations for the attack.

The Libyans' consistent denial of responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing has been repeatedly rejected by the UK and US governments, and Scottish prosecutors.

Swire, from UK Families of Pan Am Flight 103, and Black, emeritus professor of Scots law at Edinburgh University, have said they believe Megrahi is innocent. He remains the only man convicted of the bombing.

As Libyan foreign minister, Koussa met Foreign Office and Scottish government officials at least twice in 2008 and 2009 to negotiate Megrahi's release from Greenock prison. Koussa visited Megrahi in jail. Megrahi's lawyer, Tony Scott [RB: now corrected to Tony Kelly], has declined to comment on the latest developments.

Swire said the weight of evidence pointed to Syria as the main culprit but "within the Libyan regime [Koussa] is in the best position of anyone other than Gaddafi himself to tell us what the regime knows or did. He would be a peerless source of information".

Detective Superintendent Mickey Dalgliesh, who is in charge of the Lockerbie case at Dumfries and Galloway police, said the Crown Office request to interview Koussa was "in line with our position that the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing remains open and we are determined to pursue all relevant lines of inquiry".

[A column by former UK ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles has just been published on the Comment is free website of The Guardian. It is headed "Moussa Koussa's defection should be exploited: Denying Moussa Koussa immunity from prosecution in Britain does nothing to encourage others to desert Gaddafi".

A further Guardian report headlined "Moussa Koussa's defection surprises Libya – and maybe Britain too" can be read here.

The report on this issue on the BBC News website quotes extensively from this blog.]


  1. It is almost too funny. BBC News. "He must be brave. He left his family behind." Errrrrrrrr, no, he left his family behind because he doesn't care about anyone except himself!

  2. I've just posted this comment to Oliver Miles' column in The Guardian:

    [Moussa Koussa] also arouses interest because of the belief that he must be able to solve some of the crimes of the past – though possibly not those of greatest interest in Britain: Yvonne Fletcher and Lockerbie.

    Why does the Scottish Lord Advocate think Moussa Koussa knows anything about the Lockerbie bombing?

    Surely everybody knows that Libya didn't do it and that Iran, the PFLP-GC and apartheid South Africa were in fact responsible for targeting Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, on Pan Am Flight 103?

    And we also know that Prime Minister David Cameron knows much more about Lockerbie than he cares to admit!

  3. If this was remotely funny we should all be rolling about in hysterics by now at the antics of certain politicians - and our own Lord Advocate - about Lockerbie.....but only since we got caught up in the Libyan situation.

  4. This has progressed so far into bizarro-land I really don't know which way is up any longer.

  5. It'sall good and the most significant development since the trial.

    Will Musa Kusa suck up to his hosts, admit Libyan involvement and incriminate himself? Or will he deny Libyan involvement in supposed self-serving evidence and make enemies of his hosts? Until Patrick Haseldine predicts which way he will jump we have no way of knowing for sure!

  6. I predict baz will read with great interest the following comment that I posted on The Guardian website today:


    "Everybody knows?

    "OK, there are credible arguments that Iran was behind it - but I frankly admit I've never heard of Carlsson. He was the actual target? Why?

    "The South African regime in cohorts with Iran?

    "Please do enlighten us.

    "This Facebook article Lockerbie: Ayatollah's Vengeance Exacted by Botha's Regime explains precisely (means, motive and opportunity) why Iran and the apartheid South African regime targeted UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson on Pan Am Flight 103 of 21 December 1988."

    If you're still reading, baz, I also predict Moussa Koussa will deny that Libya had anything whatsoever to do with the Lockerbie bombing.