Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Lockerbie court rejects bid for further CIA Giaka cables

[This is the headline over a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2000. It reads as follows:]

Judges at the Lockerbie trial have ruled that a Libyan double agent working for the CIA should enter the witness box next week.

Abdul Majid Giaka, who is living under protection in the US where he defected 10 years ago, is expected to be flown to The Netherlands to begin giving evidence on Tuesday.

When the trial resumed on Thursday after a three-week adjournment, defence lawyers sought a further delay in his appearance.

But that has been overruled and Giaka is expected to give evidence over several days to the Scottish Court at Camp Zeist.

Giaka's appearance has been held up repeatedly by defence objections and legal debate.

At the heart of the objections has been the issue of the availability of notes of interviews held between Giaka and his CIA handlers in America.

These papers - or cables - have been trickling out with varying degrees of censorship.

Defence lawyers William Taylor QC confirmed on Thursday they had received 36 additional cables.

But their contents suggested there was even more key CIA evidence they wanted to see, particularly relating to possible Palestinian involvement in the bomb plot.

Scotland's Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC, who heads the prosecution team, said the latest CIA evidence provided more details on Giaka himself.

There were also details about his CIA "rewards" and information about two Palestinian terror groups which, he acknowledged, had originally been strong suspects in the Lockerbie inquiry.

Presiding judge Lord Sutherland said the request for more information could only be accepted if there was a "valid basis" for calling on the CIA to produce them, if the documents had "proper purpose" and if they would be of "material assistance" to the defence.

The court also had to consider whether failure to produce such documents would jeopardise the fairness of the trial of the two men accused of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

After consulting his two fellow judges he told the court: "On the information placed before us we are not satisfied that the criteria have been met."

At the time of the Lockerbie bombing in December 1988 Giaka was already on the CIA payroll, working for Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta airport.

His court appearance is likely to be behind screens.

Giaka is believed to have been pressing for a disguise as well. When he gave a statement to prosecution lawyers last year he met them on a moving bus while wearing a Shirley Bassey wig.

His concern not to be seen reflects constant fears that Libyan agents have been out to murder him ever since his defection to America.

[RB: The history of this disgraceful episode can be followed here.]

No comments:

Post a Comment