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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 15:10 GMT
'Recorders found in raid'
Trial bench
The judges heard about the police raids
The Lockerbie trial has heard about a German police operation in which radio cassette recorders were discovered while a flat was being searched.

They were not seized by officers during the raid in October 1988 and later disappeared, the trial was told.

Prosecutors accuse two Libyans of using a Toshiba Bombeat recorder packed with explosives to blow up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people.

The defence blames Palestinian groups for the bombing and tried on Friday to show that a bomb could have originated in Germany, rather than at Malta airport as the prosecution alleges.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground
The two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands
The case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judges
German police witnesses questioned by the defence acknowledged it was possible investigators failed to seize radio cassette recorders during the flat search in Neuss.

It was part of the wider Autumn Leaves investigation in which weapons, explosives and bomb-making equipment in premises occupied by Palestinians were seized.

One officer told the court he saw about 10 cassette recorders during a search of the cellar of a man believed to be a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

The defence has suggested this group and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, engineered the Lockerbie bombing.

List of items

"Isn't it a fact that you left 10 cassette recorders in the cellar?" defence counsel Richard Keen asked, after displaying a list of seized items that did not include the recorders.

The officer replied that he had not been responsible for cataloguing items taken away by police.

Another more senior officer later said that "in theory" the cassette recorders could have been spirited away between the first raid and a later police search of the flat.

The court viewed a police photo of a table in the flat strewn with screwdrivers, wires, soldering equipment and electronic parts.

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See also:

16 Nov 00 | World
Agent denies Lockerbie role
08 Nov 00 | World
Lockerbie request goes to Syria
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