If they did, there could be riots in free, democratic, pro-Western, “Arab Spring” Libya. “‘This is over’: Libya closes file on Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 despite U.S. and British pleas to re-open inquiry,” by Hugo Gye for the Daily Mail, March 1 (thanks to Adam):
Hopes that Libya’s new democratic regime would agree to re-open the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing have been dashed after officials declared that the case was ‘over’.
Scottish police have travelled to the North African country to look into possible leads which could result in further convictions for the terrorist attack that killed 270 people in 1988.
But Libyan authorities now say they do not want to ‘dig into the past’ amidst fears they could be forced to pay out further compensation to the families of the victims.
The country’s dictator Muammar Gaddafi had long been suspected of ordering the attack on Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York, but Libya did not admit responsibility for the killings until 2003.
That year, Gaddafi apologised for the bombing and agreed to pay out $2.2billion (Â£1.4billion) in compensation in return for the lifting of UN sanctions.
Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was convicted of involvement with the attack in 2001, though he was released from prison on compassionate grounds and died last year.
British and American officials have never believed that Megrahi, who always proclaimed his innocence, acted alone and have long been keen to get their hands on the Libran intelligence chiefs whom they hold responsible for the bombing.
The fall of Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 raised the prospect that the bombers could finally be brought to justice – officers from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary have visited Tripoli to try and investigate the case afresh.
But senior officials from Libya’s new democratic government are reluctant to re-open old wounds by looking into the historic atrocity once more, according to the Daily Telegraph.
‘The matter was settled with the Gaddafi regime,’ justice minister Salah Al Marghani said. ‘I am trying to work on the current situation rather than dig into the past.’
His deputy Hameda Al Magery added: ‘Britain and America are asking us to reopen this file. But this is something of the past. This is over. We want to move forward to build a new future and not to look back at Gaddafi’s black history.’
It is believed that one reason the government is unwilling to re-open the Lockerbie investigation is that it is worried the families of the victims, who were mostly from the UK and U.S., might demand further compensation.
An anonymous official told the Telegraph: ‘We know they want more money from Libya and that is why we are being very careful.’
If Libyan authorities did agree to investigate the case again they could face a backlash from within the country – Gaddafi’s decision to pay out in 2003 sparked massive street protests.
British police are particularly anxious to talk to Abdullah Senussi, a former head of Libyan intelligence who is currently being held in prison in Tripoli, but they are considered unlikely to be granted access to him.