Justice minister says Libya is open to requests to probe other suspects
Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed
Scotland's justice minister granted al Megrahi an early release in August 2009
Libya is willing to work with British police to investigate other suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, its justice minister said Wednesday.
However, it will not cooperate with any further probes into Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said, repeating a message he gave Monday.
He said no official requests regarding other potential suspects have yet been made by London’s Metropolitan Police, also known as Scotland Yard, to the Libyan judicial authorities or the National Transitional Council.
“We are open to requests regarding other suspects in the Lockerbie bombing,” he told reporters. “We abide by international treaties but we do not welcome intervention in our internal affairs.”
Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed when the Boeing 747, bound for New York from London, crashed in the town of Lockerbie, Scotland.
Scotland’s justice minister granted al Megrahi an early release in August 2009 after his attorneys and Scottish authorities said he was dying of cancer and only had three months to live. He received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Tripoli, enraging many in the United States and Britain.
With the recent overthrow of longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have called for al Megrahi to be sent back to prison.
But Libya’s interim leadership has stood firm against the idea.
“No person is to be indicted twice under any law for the same charges,” al-Alagi said. “Megrahi was convicted and served his sentence and he is now a sick man. His case is closed.”
Late last month, CNN’s Nic Robertson found al Megrahi under the care of his family in his palatial Tripoli villa. He was bedridden, comatose, and surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip.
CNN’s Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.