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Top Libyan defector set to face Lockerbie questions

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
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What does Koussa know?
  • Scottish prosecutors and police plan to quiz Moussa Koussa in next few days
  • They want to ask the former Libyan foreign minister about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing
  • Pan Am Flight 103 was en route to New York when it exploded over the Scottish town

London (CNN) -- Top Libyan defector Moussa Koussa looks set to be quizzed over the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Representatives from Scotland's Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Police confirmed they met with Foreign Office officials in London Monday to lodge a formal request to meet Libya's former foreign minister, who arrived in Britain from war-torn Libya last week.

Pan Am Flight 103 was en route to New York from London when it exploded over the Scottish town, with the loss of all 259 people on board and 11 residents on the ground.

The only person convicted in connection with the bombing, Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was freed from prison in Scotland in 2009 and sent home to Libya on the grounds that he had terminal cancer.

Libyan foreign minister flees country
What drove Koussa to leave Libya

Investigators hope Koussa, who was a senior official in Moammar Gadhafi's feared intelligence service in 1988, may be able to shed light on Libya's exact role in events like the Lockerbie bombing and the killing of a British policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984.

Libyan defector has 'secrets to tell'

"Let's remember, Moussa Koussa is the single most important Libyan official who was responsible for the intelligence service, the planning and execution of (the bombing of) Pan Am 103," said CNN homeland security analyst Fran Townsend.

A statement from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary -- which has jurisdiction over Lockerbie -- described the meeting with Foreign Office officials as "very positive" and suggested a meeting with Koussa could take place in the next few days.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Foreign Office officials would encourage Koussa to cooperate with investigators, Britain's Press Association reported.

Let's remember, Moussa Koussa is the single most important Libyan official who was responsible for the intelligence service.
--Security analyst Fran Townsend
  • Lockerbie
  • Moussa Koussa
  • Libya

He told lawmakers Monday: "We will encourage Moussa Koussa to co-operate fully with all requests for interviews with law enforcement and investigation authorities in relation both to Lockerbie as well as other issues stemming from Libya's past sponsorship of terrorism and to seek legal representation where appropriate."

He added: "These investigations are entirely independent of government, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads them and the government will assist them in any way possible."

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was a passenger on Flight 103, welcomed Koussa's defection and said he wanted to put some of his own questions to him.

"I have three main questions to put to Mr. Koussa," he told Britain's Channel 4 News Monday.

"One; was he and the Libyan government intimately involved in the atrocity. Two; if not, why did Megrahi submit himself for trial. And three; if Libya was involved, why was it involved?"

Unlike many other relatives of Lockerbie victims, Swire has expressed his doubts about whether al Megrahi was actually responsible for the atrocity.