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'I'm not an agent,' says freed Fhimah

Fhimah and Megrahi
Fhimah, left, with Megrahi. The two men were friends  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah flew home to Libya a free man after the prosecution in the Lockerbie trial failed to produce any direct evidence linking him to the crime.

When the trial began in May, 2000 the prosecution referred to him as a member of the Libyan intelligence service.

At the trial's conclusion seven months later they had toned down this allegation and were calling him simply an employee of Libyan Arab Airlines.

Fhimah, 44, is the former station manager for LAA at Luqa airport in Malta. He has consistently denied he was an intelligence agent for Libya.

Early in the trial the judges had rejected the defence argument that there was "not one jot of evidence" to link Fhimah to the bombing.

But in clearing him, the judges conceded they found "no evidence to back the prosecution claim" that he assisted Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi in planting the bomb.

Fhimah was born in Suk Giuma, Libya. He is married and believed to have five children, including a 15-year-old son who visited him, along with Fhimah's father, at Camp Zeist before and during the trial.

His home was in St John's Flats, Spring Street, in the small town of Mosta, towards the centre of Malta.

Fhimah spent 21 months inside the custom-built prison at this camp equipped with a small mosque and Arabic satellite television.

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He was the Libyan airline's station manager in Malta for several years. Megrahi was said to be head of security for LAA.

There appears to be little doubt that the two men knew each other well and were close friends.

Shortly before the Lockerbie bombing, Fhimah left his job at Luqa airport to set up his own tourism business in the town of Sliema.

There was no evidence that he was even at Luqa airport at the time of the bombing.

The prosecution claimed that this venture, Medtours Services, was a cover operation for Libyan agents and used by the two men as a front in obtaining electronic bomb timers from Switzerland.

In a TV interview he said of the allegations: "I'm in the airline business. I'm neither an intelligence man, nor a politician."

He became a prime suspect on the evidence of a Libyan double agent working for the CIA. Giving the alias Abdul Majid Giaka, the double agent gave evidence at the trial from behind blacked out, bullet proof glass.

He claimed he worked for Libyan intelligence alongside the two men at Luqa airport and said Fhimah once showed him two bricks of explosives, which he kept in a desk drawer in his office.

The explosives, he had told him, were delivered to him by Megrahi.

Majid Giaka is now in hiding under a witness protection programme. The defence claims his account secured him a new life the U.S. There is speculation he is line for the $5 million reward.

Also central to the prosecution case against Fhimah were entries found in his diary. One of the entries said "must get luggage tags for Megrahi."

Air Malta luggage tags were used to ensure that the suitcase was transferred to doomed Pan Am Flight 103 which was travelling from Frankfurt to New York via Heathrow, the trial was told.

His counsel argued that even if it be accepted that he did obtain tags and did supply them to Megrahi, it would be going too far to infer that he was necessarily aware that they were to be used for the purpose of blowing up an aircraft.

Fhimah, like his co-accused, speaks good English but wore earphones during the trial to listen to the proceedings in Arabic.



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