Friday, 20 April 2012

Search for justice

[This is the headline over a section in the Embassy Row column on the website of The Washington Times.  It reads in part:]

Relatives of the victims of a Libyan bomb attack on an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, more than 20 years ago told Libya’s ambassador Thursday that they want more answers, not more money, in their “search for justice.”
Frank Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am 103, tried to reassure Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali* that the families of the 270 victims of the bombing support British authorities in their efforts to open a fresh investigation with the help of the new government in Libya.
“I want to assure you that the families of the US victims of this bombing have no intention of seeking monetary compensation. Our efforts were never about money but instead were a search for justice,” Mr Duggan wrote in a letter to the ambassador.
British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt this week informed Parliament of “apprehension in some parts” of Libya’s National Transitional Council that London is after more compensation.
He insisted that the British effort is “about finding out the truth of the matter.”
Only one man was convicted of the bombing, but authorities always have suspected more Libyans were involved. (…)
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed last year in the uprising that toppled his regime, never admitted responsibility for the bombing. However, he paid relatives of the victims $2.7 billion in restitution.

*[Here, from an article in the Caledonian Mercury, are some of Ambassador Aujali’s previous statements about Libya and Lockerbie:]

In 2007, Aujali is in Washington, telling The Washington Diplomat that Libya’s decision to accept responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing was a “calculated economic decision” because Western sanctions were crippling the country to the tune of $5 billion a year by depriving Libya of technology. (...)

In 2009 Aujali wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the fact that “a large and growing body of evidence that casts serious doubt on [Abdel Baset al-Megrahi’s] conviction and suggests that an innocent man may have been languishing in prison” had been widely under-reported by the US media. “

“The Scottish flags they flew alongside Libyan flags were not an endorsement of the terrible deeds of which [the then recently released Megrahi] was accused,” he said. “They were a powerful sign of solidarity between two very different nations that nonetheless share the value of compassion”.
[UK relatives of Lockerbie victims are also continuing their search for truth and justice, but along lines very different from Mr Duggan’s.]

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