A second Lockerbie bombing trial could be on horizon after the Crown Office confirmed that Scotland’s Lord Advocate has made a formal request for evidence relating to the 1988 terrorist attack.
Frank Mulholland QC has contacted the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), recently installed in Tripoli following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, to ask for “any documentary evidence and witnesses, which could assist in the ongoing enquiries”, amid speculation that NTC ministers are willing to release new information to Scottish authorities.
The request for evidence is believed to relate specifically to Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, a defendant who was acquitted in the original case after standing trial alongside Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, who was convicted.
Speaking to the Times newspaper, a spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The Crown will continue to pursue lines of enquiry that become available and following recent events in Libya has asked the National Transitional council, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, for assistance with the investigation.”
Hopes of greater cooperation and new evidence relating to the Lockerbie bombing have been raised by claims from Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the former Gaddafi regime justice minister who defected to become leader of the NTC, that he has evidence of the deposed Libyan leader’s involvement in the atrocity.
In addition, questioning by Scottish police of Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister who defected at the start of this year’s conflict, is thought to have related to Fhimah.
Speaking to a Swedish newspaper, Expressen, at the end of August, Fhimah said: “I was never a part of the regime. I am an ordinary citizen, who was connected to a crime I had nothing to do with and I don’t know who made that connection.
“Gaddafi should be tried in court in regards to whether he ordered the bombing. I don’t know whether Gaddafi had anything to do with Lockerbie or not.
“There is a court and he is the one to explain whether he is innocent or not. He has to.”
Other suspects thought to be under investigation in connection to any new Lockerbie trial include Abdullah Senussi, Gaddafi’s brother-in-law and then-head of Libyan intelligence; Ibrahim Nayili, former head of Libyan airline security; Sa’id Rashid, a senior Gaddafi government official; and Izz Aldin Hinshiri, a former Gaddafi government minister.
Rashid and Hinshiri, however, are believed to have been killed during the recent Libyan uprising.