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Gadhafi to produce Lockerbie evidence

TRIPOLI, Libya -- Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is due to present evidence he says will refute the verdict in the Lockerbie trial.

He has promised to produce new information on Monday to prove the innocence of the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi was found guilty last Wednesday of the murder of the 270 people killed in the bombing.

Libyan newspapers said Libyans were "holding their breath" for the speech. Libya has always denied any government involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

Gadhafi said last week that the judges will have nothing else to do but "to tell the truth, resign or commit suicide."

One daily newspaper said: "The truth will come from Tripoli, from (Gadhafi's) tent and the bombed out residence of the Libyan leader."

Al Shams (The Sun) said there was a sense of anticipation in the air. "What will the leader say today? For the third day running the question is repeated among journalists, the people, students and politicians," it said.

"Everyone is holding his breath and counts the minutes and second until the speech," it said

Megrahi, 48, was sentenced to life imprisonment with no prospect of parole for 20 years.

Co-defendant Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was cleared and returned to Libya on Thursday.

Three judges at the special Scottish court in the Netherlands found there was no conclusive evidence against Fhimah, 44, who was a manager for Libyan Arab Airlines in Malta at the time the bomb-laden suitcase entered the baggage system that eventually loaded it on to the Pan Am jet.

A Scottish law professor who helped set up the Lockerbie trial has claimed the real bombers of Pan Am flight 103 were Syrian-based terrorists.

Professor Robert Black said: "It was only after Libya agreed to the trial that I was able to take a hard look at the evidence available.

"I formed the view then that the case against the Libyans was a weak one. And I still think so today.

"It always seemed to me there was weightier evidence against the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, lead by Ahmed Jibril."

Black said the initial investigation centred on this group but then switched to the Libyans and any evidence that pointed to the contrary was discarded.

He added: "Before the trial I always accepted that the prosecution might have evidence that I hadn't come across in the public domain. But the trial proved to me that there wasn't any more evidence."



RELATED STORIES:
Thousands protest against Lockerbie conviction
February 3, 2001
Libya rejects Lockerbie damages claim
February 2, 2001
Lockerbie families deny Gadhafi proof
February 1, 2001
Lockerbie bomber jailed for life
January 31, 2001

RELATED SITES:
Libya Online
Lockerbie Trial Briefing
U.N. Security Council

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