Monday, 19 March 2012

Police set to quiz Gaddafi ‘executioner’ on Lockerbie

[This is the headline over a report (behind the paywall) in today’s edition of The Times. It reads in part:]

Detectives investigating the Lockerbie bombing indicated yesterday that they want to question the former Libyan intelligence chief arrested at the weekend in Mauritania.

Abdullah al-Senussi, who served for more than 30 years as Colonel Gaddafi’s right-hand man, has long been suspected of masterminding the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103. He was detained at the airport in the capital, Nouakchott, while travelling on a fake Malian passport from Casablanca and was with a man believed to be his son. Prosecutors believe al-Senussi could be key to unlocking the truth behind the terrorist outrage, which killed 270 people in December 1988.

The Crown Office in Edinburgh said: “The investigation into the involvement of others with [Abdel Baset Ali] al-Megrahi in the Lockerbie bombing remains open and the Crown will work with Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and US authorities to pursue available lines of inquiry.”

Al-Senussi is Gadaffi’s brother-in-law and was his most senior spy chief and is thought to have been privy to the regime’s darkest secrets. He is said to have chaired a key meeting in 1988 which ultimately led to the downing of Pan Am 103. He is also said to have recruited al-Megrahi, the Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the Lockerbie attack in 2001 but released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds in 2009. (…)

Al-Senussi belongs to Libya’s Magarha tribe. Al-Megrahi, released because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and was said to have had only around three months to live, belongs to the same tribe.

[One suspects that the Scottish detectives, if ever allowed access to Senussi, will get precisely as much information about Lockerbie as they got from Moussa Koussa.]

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