[This is the headline over a report that appeared in The Independent on this date in 1999. It reads as follows:]
Senior Scottish prosecutors in the Lockerbie bombing case have recently visited the United States to interview a witness who claims to have seen the two Libyan defendants prepare the bomb.
The identity of the mystery witness - a Libyan - is known to The Independent and has been protected since the man went into hiding in the US in 1992 or earlier. His credibility will be crucial to the full trial, which is expected to begin on 2 February next year. [RB: The witness in question was, of course, Abdul Majid Giaka. His testimony at the trial was assessed by the judges as utterly incredible and unreliable. Further details can be found here.]
The news comes as attention focuses on Camp Zeist, a former US base in the Netherlands, where Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 47, and al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 43, will appear tomorrow for the first time in front of a Scottish judge.
Lord Sutherland will hear a challenge from the men's lawyers to the conspiracy charge, which, it will be claimed, should not be presented to a Scottish court. They will claim that since the alleged conspiracy took place outside Scotland, the court is acting beyond its jurisdiction.
Lawyers for the prosecution were yesterday declining to comment on their contacts with witnesses. The Libyan witness's statements are believed to implicate both defendants in a plot which led to the placing of the bomb on Pan Am flight 103 from Frankfurt to New York, via London, in December 1988.
The two men, alleged to be Libyan intelligence officers, deny the charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and breaching the 1982 Aviation Security Act. They were extradited from Libya to Scottish custody in April this year after an eight-year battle. [RB: Megrahi and Fhimah were not extradited: they voluntarily surrendered themselves for trial.]