Monday, 22 October 2012

New investigation into Fhimah, the man cleared of Lockerbie bombing

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

The man acquitted of the Lockerbie bombing is again part of an investigation by Scottish prosecutors.

Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah is the subject of Crown Office inquiries into the events that led to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988 and remains the biggest single act of terrorism in Britain.

Mr Fhimah was acquitted in 2001 by Lord Sutherland, the presiding judge at his trial at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands, but could face a new prosecution after changes to the law on double jeopardy.

It is understood that a Maltese court has heard fresh testimony from witnesses called as part of the continuing Crown investigation into the Lockerbie bombing. (...)

Although the Crown Office will not confirm who is part of the investigation, the actions of Mr Fhimah are thought to be included.

Before the fresh testimonies were heard, a formal request was sent by the Crown Office to Malta, asking for judicial assistance. The details have not been released but a “summary of facts” from the Crown Office names Mr Fhimah.

It says: “The circumstances giving rise to this request are that it is alleged that the said Megrahi and Fhimah, acting in concert with others and with the Libyan intelligence services ... caused an improvised explosive device to be placed among clothing and an umbrella, which had been purchased in Malta, within a suitcase which had been tagged so as to enable it to be carried on Air Malta flight KM180 to Frankfurt on December 21, 1988.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The trial court accepted that Megrahi acted in furtherance of the Libyan intelligence services in an act of state-sponsored terrorism and did not act alone. It would not be appropriate to offer further comment.”

Calls for a public inquiry into the bombing continued last month after “serious formal allegations” relating to the conduct of the investigation were laid before the Justice Secretary.

The Scottish parliament’s Justice Committee once again considered the long-running petition by the Justice for Megrahi (JFM) group, calling for an independent inquiry into al-Megrahi’s conviction in 2001.

In a submission to the committee, JFM said that “serious question marks” had been raised over forensic evidence. “It would now appear that expert evidence provided to the court was deeply flawed,” it said.

[Examples of just how deeply flawed the investigation and prosecution were will be illustrated at tomorrow’s media conference.]

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