The Star Early Edition

Locker­bie mys­tery never solved

- Crime · Terrorism · Lockerbie · Pan American Airways Corporation · Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi · United Kingdom · Malta · Luqa · Government of the United Kingdom · Air Malta

THIRTY-TWO years ago Pan Am 103 ex­ploded over the Scot­tish town of Locker­bie. Bdel­baset al-Megrahi was the only man con­victed of the worst terrorist crime in UK his­tory. He has pro­claimed his in­no­cence and un­suc­cess­fully ap­pealed against his con­vic­tion.

A new sus­pect has been charged 32 years later. (Abu Agila Mo­ham­mad) Mas’ud is al­leged to have built the bomb and worked with Megrahi to carry out the at­tack.

The case of Megrahi was a com­plex one since the day he was in­dicted on 270 counts of mur­der in Novem­ber 1991.

Malta has been dogged over the past 32 years by the Locker­bie pros­e­cu­tion’s con­tention that the bomb re­spon­si­ble for one of the most heinous terrorist acts in his­tory be­gan it’s deadly flight on an Air Malta flight out of Luqa. Many na­tions have con­spired to cover up the true iden­ti­ties of those re­spon­si­ble for plan­ning and ex­e­cut­ing the Locker­bie crash.

The shock­ing truth is that West­ern in­tel­li­gence agencies were com­plicit in the mur­ders. From the mo­ment the plane went down, a sup­pos­edly im­par­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion was dis­torted

Email let­ters dnlet­ter@inl.co.za (no at­tach­ments). All let­ters must con­tain a full name, ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber. No pen names.

to con­ceal this dark re­al­ity from the vic­tims’ rel­a­tives and the pub­lic.

Many an­a­lysts be­lieve that Megrahi was framed and that the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment was part of the cover-up.

No one in author­ity has the guts to re­veal the truth about the bomb­ing. The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment, in ef­fect, black­mailed Megrahi into drop­ping his ap­peal as a con­di­tion of his re­lease.

Had the ap­peal gone to a higher court, new and sup­pressed ev­i­dence would have shown that a frag­ment of a cir­cuit bomb and bomb timer, dis­cov

ered in the coun­try­side of Locker­bie, and said to have been in Megrahi’s suit­case, was a plant. A foren­sic sci­en­tist found no trace of an ex­plo­sion on it. The ev­i­dence would demon­strate the im­pos­si­bil­ity of the bomb be­gin­ning its jour­ney at Malta be­fore it was al­legedly trans­ferred through two air­ports un­de­tected to flight 103.

Megrahi’s trial was a po­lit­i­cally in­flu­enced sham from the start, in which key wit­nesses were bribed and coached and cru­cial ev­i­dence was tam­pered with. New wit­nesses and cru­cial

ev­i­dence would have shown that it was im­pos­si­ble for Megrahi to have bought the clothes that were found in the wreck­age of Pan Am 103.

The ac­cused was con­victed on the word of a Mal­tese shop owner who claims to have sold him the clothes, then gave a false de­scrip­tion of him in 19 sep­a­rate state­ments and even failed to recog­nise him in court.

Dur­ing the course of our life­time, some­day, some­one will re­veal the ul­ti­mate truth.

FAROUK ARAIE

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Jo­han­nes­burg

 ?? AP African News Agency (ANA) ?? A PO­LICE of­fi­cer walks by the nose of Pan Am flight 103 in a field near the town of Locker­bie, Scot­land where it lay af­ter a bomb aboard ex­ploded, killing a to­tal of 270 peo­ple, in this De­cem­ber 21, 1988 file photo. |
AP African News Agency (ANA) A PO­LICE of­fi­cer walks by the nose of Pan Am flight 103 in a field near the town of Locker­bie, Scot­land where it lay af­ter a bomb aboard ex­ploded, killing a to­tal of 270 peo­ple, in this De­cem­ber 21, 1988 file photo. |

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