Monday, 10 September 2012

Gaddafi-era officials go on trial accused over Lockerbie case

[This is the headline over a report published today by the Reuters news agency.  It reads in part:]

Two senior officials under late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi went on trial on Monday accused of wasting public money by facilitating a compensation payment of more than $2 billion to families of those killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

The trial of the two men - former Foreign Minister Abdel-Ati al-Obeidi and former Secretary General of the General People's Congress [RB: and Libyan ambassador in London following restoration of diplomatic relations in 2001] Mohammed Zwai - was swiftly adjourned to give their legal team more time to prepare.

Zwai was the head of the legislature under Gaddafi, who was overthrown after an uprising last year and later killed.

Libya's new rulers, who aim to draw up a democratic constitution, are keen to try Gaddafi's family members and loyalists to show the country's citizens that those who helped Gaddafi stay in power for 42 years are being punished.

But human rights activists fret a weak central government and a relative lack of rule of law mean legal proceedings will not meet international standards.

The two men's appearance in the dock - 14 months after they were arrested - was brief.

"I refute these charges against me," Zwai told the court. Obedi also denied the charges.

The judge, whose name was not given, read out the charges against the duo, saying they were accused of arranging compensation worth $2.7 billion for the families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing to try to get them to drop charges against Libya.

The 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie in Scotland killed 270 people. Libyan Abdel Basset al-Meghrahi, who always denied involvement in downing the jet, was convicted of the bombing. He was released from jail in 2009 amid huge controversy in Britain and died of cancer in May.

Most but not all of the compensation was paid out by Libya on condition that U.N. sanctions against it were cancelled and U.S. trade sanctions against it lifted.

The judge said the two men's action was a crime because "the compensation was a waste of public money especially when there was no guarantee the charges in the Lockerbie case would be dropped if the compensation was made".

The judge adjourned the men's trial until October 15 after Mustafa Kishlaf, the defense lawyer, said he needed access to certain files and more time to study the case.

On Sunday, war-time interim Justice Minister Mohammed Al-Alagy told reporters that the current trials of Gaddafi-era officials were "invalid" because the prosecutor general's office was not following the necessary legal steps.

Under Libyan law, the Indictment Chamber reviews cases and then refers them to the appropriate court. But Alagy said prosecutors were bypassing this body and demanded they review their procedures and the legality of those held in custody.

Buzeid Dorda, a former intelligence chief and the first former senior official from the Gaddafi era to be put on trial in Libya, said in July he had been denied the right to meet privately with a lawyer and had been subjected to illegal interrogations during his 10 months in detention.

His trial, which began on June 5, has been adjourned several times since for procedural reasons.

A report on the Libyan Mathaba website contains the following:]

The Tripoli Appeals Court today Monday postponed the trial of senior officials of the derailed Jamahiriya to consider the issue of the defendants Mohammed Abu El-Gassem Yusuf al-Zwai, Secretary of the General People's Congress of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and Abdulati Ibrahim Muhammad al-Obeidi, Secretary of External Communications at the Congress until the 15th October at the request of their lawyers.

This was followed by the trial judge citing charges against the two accused, by the public prosecutor for first in 2004 as public officials for harming public money by granting compensation to the families of the victims of the Pan Am flight 103 "Lockerbie" case, of over two thousand seven hundred million dollars (2.7 billion),  exceeded the ceiling granted to them in a weak and fake case, since Libya was not responsible.

The second charge concerned treason of the suspects in taking part in negotiations with the lawyers of the families of the victims and agreeing to pay the compensation in exchange for the lifting of the unjust sanctions imposed upon Libya, instead of demanding compensation for those sanctions, which is still outstanding, and to remove Libya from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, while knowing that lawyers are not authorised to negotiate the conditions mentioned above by the US administration, which resulted in harm to the public money as applicable in the articles 2/9 of Law No. 2 of 1979 on economic crimes and articles 183 and 76 of the Penal Code.

Both the accused during the hearing rejected charges brought against them by the trial judge, and asked their defense counsel for for the copies of some papers and documents of the court with a request for the release of those documents, which was met by an objection by the prosecution. The court decided in its second public meeting today to defer consideration of the charges at the request of the defendants to give them more time so as to enable the defense lawers to interview their clients in accordance with legal procedures applicable and to see all documents permitted.

[Further information regarding the Lockerbie role of Obeidi can be found on this blog here; of Zwai here; and of Dorda here.]


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2012 - The 2.7 billion US$ the US was extorted from Libya, was the latest in the vile process that paves the way open for Libya's return to the international fold...
    Only in Gegerman language:
    Es zeigt in welche Himmelsrichtung sich der "Kompass" einpegelt. Das "NEW LIBYA of NTC" hat genügend Beweise, dass Abdelbasset al Megrahi, nichts mit dem Attentat auf PanAm 103, zutun hatte.
    Das libysche Volk hatte durch die "Lockerbie- Affäre" einen Schaden von über US$ 40 Milliarden erlitten !
    Das libysche Gericht wird versuchen den "Deal" offen zulegen, welche "Business Companys" in UK, der 'Gaddafi Foundation' in Geneva, 'GIFCA' (von Saif el Islam) die US$ 2,7 Milliarden - zu welchen "Garantie Bedingungen" - zur Verfügung stellten...
    Die Summe von US$ 2,7 Milliarden wurde auf ein Konto der Bank für Internationalen Zahlungsausgleich (BIZ) in der Schweiz einbezahlt..
    The payment of compensation was against better judgment - "has accepted responsibility" for Lockerbie, the 1992 sanctions ­suspended in 1999 and was be formally lifted.
    The day of the Lockerbie trial verdict - Thursday, March 14th 2002, is in the future, a very bad day for the Scottish Justiciary.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. URL:

  2. The Plan was to quickly assassinate Gaddafi and replace him with a new government that would reward America by taking responsibility for Lockerbie.

    But things never went to plan and following the destruction of Libya the new government has only said ‘Gaddafi did it’, without explaining how.

    Now the new Government are prosecuting Gaddafi officials for wasting public funds paying compensation for Lockerbie, which ‘had nothing to do with Libya’.

    The destruction of Libya was illegal under International and UK law. Hopefully NATO will not use these prosecutions as a reason to do it all over again?