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Lockerbie bomb route questioned

courtroom sketch
Defense attorney William Taylor, standing, presents closing arguments Thursday at Camp Zeist, Netherlands. Suspects Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, far left, and Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi listen behind him  

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands -- The lawyer for a Libyan accused of the Lockerbie bombing has cast doubt on where the suitcase holding the fatal bomb originated.

In closing submissions on Tuesday, the defence lawyer for Abdel Basset al-Megrahi suggested the suitcase could have been put on the Pan Am flight at Frankfurt, rather than at Malta as the prosecution says.

The murder trial of Megrahi and fellow Libyan Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima is in its 82nd day in a special Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist, Netherlands.

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The pair have denied murdering 270 people when the plane exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.

Prosecutors maintain the two defendants were behind the planting of a suitcase containing the bomb on a Frankfurt-bound flight at Malta's Luqa airport.

The suitcase was later transferred onto the fatal flight at London's Heathrow airport.

Defence lawyer William Taylor made a detailed examination of baggage-handling at Frankfurt, suggesting alternative ways the bag could have made its way onto the jet.

Taylor said there were several unaccompanied bags on the flight.

He also suggested that an unwitting person could have been used to carry on the suitcase -- a method he said had been used in the past by the Palestinian radical group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

The defence said at the start of the trial that it could seek to incriminate the Syrian-backed PFLP-GC and the lesser-known Palestinian Popular Struggle Front.

"There was very little to stop the introduction of the improvised explosive device by a dupe," Taylor said as Megrahi sat behind him listening to proceedings in Arabic translation through headphones.

The indictment says the accused acted to further the purposes of Libyan intelligence, but the defence argues there was no proof Megrahi was a Libyan agent at the time of the bombing.

Fahima's lawyer Richard Keen is due to present his closing arguments after Taylor.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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Defense points to Palestinian group
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Prosecutors put finishing touches on Lockerbie case
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RELATED SITES:
Scottish Courts
Lockerbie Trial Briefing
Libyan Mission to U.N.

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