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Lockerbie families in inquiry call

The Lockerbie bombing resulted in the deaths of 270 people in 1988
The Lockerbie bombing resulted in the deaths of 270 people in 1988  


CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands -- Relatives of those who died in the Lockerbie tragedy said they were "satisfied" with the appeal judges' verdict to turn down an appeal by the convicted Libyan former intelligence agent.

But they still want an official inquiry into how bombers could have placed an explosive device on the Pan Am flight which killed 270 people when it went down over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Some relatives shook hands with each other when the five-panel team of judges delivered their ruling which concurred that Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi had "no grounds" for an appeal. (Full story)

Sporadic applauding and a shout of "yes" broke out from the public gallery in the special court set up at Camp Zeist, the Netherlands -- in stark contrast to Al-Megrahi's wife who collapsed in distress.

Briton Jim Swire, whose daughter died in the disaster, said outside the court following the ruling, that it "remains our utmost endeavour to set up an inquiry."

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Relatives of the deceased are due to meet with the British government later on Thursday.

"This is not a time for celebration, but to gather our forces and see what we can do to prevent this ever happening again," he told reporters.

"This court has done a good job...but it has a very narrow focus.

"It has not been able to say why such people do such things, and how Western governments and agencies had failed to protect us when they had so much evidence."

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he hoped the decision would bring some "solace and comfort" to the families of those killed. (Full story)

Kathleen Flynn, from Montville, New Jersey, whose 21-year-old son, JP, died in the atrocity, told the UK's Press Association news agency: "I can't see anything that was put forward in the appeal that would make a lick of difference to the conviction."

Another U.S. victim's relative said it had been "a special day" despite its "high anxiety."

Among the relief at the ruling was the feeling that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had to accept full responsibility for the attack.

"It was a decision we had expected, but it does not end the Lockerbie case," said Daniel Cohen of Cape May Court House, New Jersey, who lost his 20-year-old daughter Theodora.

Cohen said Libya had to comply with U.N. resolutions, which included accepting responsibility "for this horror" and compensating families for the pain they had suffered, Reuters news agency reported.

"It's up to our (the U.S.) government to make damned sure that no one doubts who did this," said Cohen.

Eileen Monetti, who lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, lost her son Rick, 20.

She told Reuters she did not believe she would ever have closure but was delighted by the decision.

"We don't have perfect justice but we've gone a whole lot further than I ever thought we would in December 1988."

Lockerbie residents, who saw 11 of their neighbours die when the plane was blown out of the sky, also recognised that although the appeal ruling closed one door, the issue had not completely finished.

Graham Herbert, head of the Lockerbie Academy college, said: "This is another chapter closed, although it's not the final one.

"There may be a public inquiry and civil action but hopefully we are one step nearer to the end."

No clocks stopped, no bells tolled as residents went about their day-to-day business in the small town.



 
 
 
 






RELATED STORIES:
• Lockerbie appeal: New evidence
February 13, 2002
• Judges query Pan Am bomb evidence
February 8, 2002
• Lockerbie conviction defended
February 6, 2002
• Article 'swayed Lockerbie witness'
January 28, 2002
• Lockerbie witness 'changed story'
January 25, 2002

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