Saturday, 9 April 2011

Families of Lockerbie victims make plea to talk to Koussa

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Herald. It reads in part:]

Lawyers acting for the British relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing will approach officials to ask for a meeting with former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa.

Dr Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora died when Pan Am flight 103 blew up in December 1988, told The Herald he had asked their legal team to request a meeting with Mr Koussa, who defected to the UK last week.

The Libyan was interviewed by Scottish prosecutors and police investigating the Lockerbie bombing on Thursday although the Crown Office has said that to preserve the integrity of the inquiry it could not give any more details. But officials have stressed that Mr Koussa has not been offered diplomatic immunity.

Dr Swire, who has met Mr Koussa and described him as “more frightening than Gaddafi himself”, said he had asked lawyers acting for the British relatives to request a meeting with Mr Koussa, although he urged caution in relying on any information given by the Libyan.

He said: “Anyone who has dealings with Moussa Koussa or people in Benghazi should take what they hear with a huge pinch of salt.”

Dr Swire has written to other British families after it emerged that a group of relatives are setting up the Gaddafi Terror Victims’ Initiative, calling for an investigation by US authorities into Libya’s role in the Lockerbie bombing.

In the letter, reproduced on a blog written by Professor Robert Black, Dr Swire said he feared it was unwise and may lead to unnecessary grief for relatives of those killed in the atrocity.

He said: “So far as Lockerbie is concerned, this initiative is, I believe, based on profoundly insecure foundations. Its title presupposes the guilt of the Gaddafi regime, its content presupposes the guilt of Megrahi.

“The words of defectors to Benghazi, or of Moussa Koussa, should be regarded with the greatest circumspection, taking their present situations into account. War generates fog, and truth is then even harder to come by.

“Without the certainty that Megrahi was guilty, which is implicit in this initiative, there can as yet be no certainty that the Libyan regime itself was involved, at least in the way that most in America believe.”

[The BBC News website now also features a report on this matter.]

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