Monday, 6 April 2015

A friendly transfer

[What follows is excerpted from a report on the BBC News website of proceedings at Camp Zeist on this date in 1999:]

The two Libyans made their first appearance in a Scottish court on 6 April, 1999.

In a very brief private hearing at Camp Zeist in Holland, Sheriff Principal Graham Cox, Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah were remanded in custody.

They were not required to make any plea or declaration by the unique Scottish court convened specifically for this case.

The two suspects were accompanied by their lawyers and United Nations officials observed the proceedings.

Both men will continue to be held in separate cells in the UK's smallest prison, set up at the former Dutch air base in the run-up to their trial.

Officials had earlier read out to the men the warrants for their arrest in Arabic and English - listing the names of the 270 victims one by one. They are charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and breach of the Aviation Security Act.

Both men were fingerprinted, photographed and subjected to DNA sampling. This is standard procedure in any Scottish criminal case.

They will be formally committed for trial next week. (...)

The two Libyans flew into The Hague from Tripoli on Monday [5 April 1999] before being transferred to the Camp Zeist compound.

They arrived in darkness aboard separate helicopters which landed on a football pitch at the back of the former air base which has been declared UK territory for the duration of the trial.

Each of the accused, head covered, handcuffed and wearing body armour, was greeted by two Scottish police officers while armed colleagues looked on from the perimeter fence.

The Libyans were accompanied on their flight to the Netherlands by the chief legal counsel to the United Nations, Hans Corell.

He told a news conference that neither man had showed any signs of anxiety.

Mr Corell said: "Each of them had a brother on board and they had their two lawyers.

"There were conversations between them and also there were conversations between our security people and of course the purpose was to create an atmosphere of, shall we say, a friendly transfer."


  1. (google translation, German/English):

    Good day Scotland
    Your official staff should be brave and courageous and want to make at least a crystal-clear table - in the case of complex "Lockerbie Affair". Press for a comprehensive UN Lockerbie inquiry !

    Dr. Jim Swire once said: "The history of Lockerbie has in general revealed a deceit greater even than that contrived by the police following the Hillsborough disaster. In that case it is now known that important evidence was concealed and scores of police statements altered so as to make it appear that the many fans who were crushed were responsible for their own deaths".

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  2. "...of course the purpose was to create an atmosphere of, shall we say, a friendly transfer."
    The dilemma is well known. One on hand, these people may have been thought to be mass murderers by the officials. On the other hand, they are "innocent until proven guilty". And on top of it, there's the public opinion, with some people who'd like to hang the two accused when they step out of the plane. The wording carefully sails between these rocks.

    Hans Corell seems to have been involved in the procedure of getting an observer of Koechler's integrity