Monday, 19 June 2017

Trial told of bomb timer links

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

The Lockerbie trial has heard further evidence allegedly linking one of the accused and a Swiss company which made the timer believed to have detonated the fatal blast.

One of Swiss firm Mebo's owners, Edwin Bollier, detailed the way it established links with Libya.

He said Mebo had sold a vessel which had been used as a pirate radio station in the North Sea to the Libyans and had supplied electronic equipment to Libyan organisations, including the secret service.

He went on to say how MEBO had devised an improvised detonation device for a bomb in a suitcase, based on an electronic pager.
Earlier his colleague, Erwin Meister, had explained how he had met one of the accused, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, in Mebo's offices in Zurich.

Mr Megrahi, said Mr Meister, was setting up a company there with another man, believed to be the head of the Libyan Secret Service.

The Crown alleges that this company was a front for terrorist activities.

Mr Meister confirmed to the court that the firm had supplied timing devices to Libya and also to the East German Secret Service.

On Friday, Mr Meister pointed to Mr Al Megrahi as a man he "had done business with".

But under cross-examination on Monday, Mr Meister admitted he had a bad memory and that his identification of one of the accused might have been from seeing so many press photos of the man rather than from his own recollection. (...)

Mr Meister acknowledged he had difficulty remembering details about his company's sale in 1985 to Libya of 20 sample timers with an MST-13 circuit board - the type that prosecutors have linked to the attack.

The witness repeated several times that he had a bad memory.
"It's a problem I've had for quite some time and it's getting worse," he said.

The defence is expected to argue that an explosive was loaded on to Pan Am 103 in Frankfurt by Palestinian guerrillas, not from a connecting flight originating in Malta, as the prosecution maintains.

Mr Meister first said he had only visited East Germany once but then agreed that he had made numerous trips to deliver equipment to the Stasi secret police, including a lie detector and a pager that scrambled messages into code.

Mebo had sold around 15 timers to East Germany before 1985 and supplied several more in late 1985, but Mr Meister insisted the timers sold in 1985 were different from the ones sold to Libya.

Prosecutors say the accused used their positions as Libyan Airlines employees to plant a suitcase with a bomb hidden in a radio cassette on board the plane.

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