Thursday, 10 November 2016

Terrorist 'has alibi' for Lockerbie

[What follows is excerpted from the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit’s report on proceedings at the Zeist trial on this date in 2000:]

Today the court heard evidence from the convicted Palestinian terrorist, Mohammed Abu Talb. Talb is a 46-year-old Egyptian army deserter and was previously a member of the late Palestinian Peoples' Struggle Front (PPSF) since 1976. He is presently serving a prison term for bomb attacks against Jewish organizations. He was granted asylum in 1983 in Sweden and, before his criminal activities came to light, was granted citizenship. Prior to the indictment of the two accused, Talb was a chief suspect in the Pan Am bombing.

Earlier in the week Lord Sutherland had delayed his testimony in order to provide the defense more time to gather additional data and for his precognition.

Talb admitted to the court that he had been in Malta  about two months prior to the bombing but stated that he was at home in Sweden looking after his children at the time the device is alleged to have been prepared and deposited on the feeder flight. He was certain of the date as his wife's friend was in hospital giving birth and his wife was visiting her. The prosecution questioned him regarding his visit to Malta and were informed he was visiting a friend Mr. Abdu Salam, a baker. Further Talb claimed that a brother of his friend, Asham, provided him with clothing samples which he carried back to his home in Uppsala in Sweden.

Mr Taylor for the defence objected to the testimony branding Talb a "spoiler witness" called at this time to remove the force of the Defense's cross-examination which would have enjoyed more power once further evidence had been laid before the court. Mr Taylor made it clear to the court that he would be recalling Talb at a later date once further information has been collected. Questioned by Lord Sutherland as to when this may be, Bill Taylor replied:  "As long as it takes, your lordship. That's like asking, 'How long is a piece of string.'"

[RB: The Guardian’s report on Abu Talb’s testimony can be read here.]

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