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Reevel Alderson reports
"The Libyans have lodged a special defence of incrimination"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 20:23 GMT
Lockerbie trial: Prosecution closes
Camp Zeist court room
The trial at Camp Zeist is now eight months old
Prosecutors have closed their case in the Lockerbie trial with an admission that they do not know how the bomb got onto a jumbo jet which exploded in 1988 with the loss of 270 lives.

But in their final address to the judges hearing the case against two Libyan men, they say they have proven the two were involved in the conspiracy to bomb Pan Am Flight 103.

Advocate depute Alistair Campbell QC said that although the Crown could not say how the bomb got onto the flight, it was not essential to do so.

He then outlined the way in which the two accused, Abdelbasset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah worked in concert to cause the bombing.

Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell: Completed summing up
He told the judges: "It seems clear whatever means was used, Megrahi would not have been able to achieve it alone. He required assistance from someone."

Mr Campbell said Megrahi had the components for a bomb, brought them to Malta where he also bought clothes, which were in the suitcase which contained the explosive.

He detailed the way Fhimah, formerly an airport worker in Malta, is alleged to have circumnavigated security procedures.

The Libyan is said to have obtained airline baggage tickets needed to allow an unaccompanied bag onto a plane.

With the prosecution case now complete there is a distinct possibility a verdict could be returned within weeks.

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
On Tuesday the Crown dropped two of the three charges faced by the Libyans.

They had been initially charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and contravening the aviation security acts.

Now they face one charge of mass murder on 21 December, 1988.

Before the court adjourned until Thursday, Mr Campbell told the three Scottish judges hearing the case that the men's guilt would be proved "beyond reasonable doubt".

He recapped some of the evidence which had been heard during the eight-month trial which began at a special court at Camp Zeist in Holland on 3 May last year.

The trial is now expected to be over quickly following a surprise move by the defence teams which said on Monday that they would offer no further evidence.

The decision by advocates for the pair came after the Syrian Government refused to hand over evidence which was considered vital to the defence case.

Lockerbie wreckage
Eleven people were killed on the ground
Al Megrahi had been expected to give evidence as part of the defence's attempt to establish that Palestinian terror groups, and not Libyans, were responsible for the atrocity.

The prosecution called 230 witnesses, none of whom saw the bomb being placed on the doomed jumbo.

Instead, those leading the case have relied on evidence which they say when put together proves the guilt of the two men.

The two defence teams will begin their summing up at Camp Zeist on Thursday morning.

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See also:

08 Jan 01 | Lockerbie Trial
Lockerbie defence cut short
08 Jan 01 | Lockerbie Trial
Analysis: Conclusion of Lockerbie evidence
31 Dec 00 | Scotland
Moderator to visit Lockerbie prison
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