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Home Affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson
"The prosecution claim one of the timers was used to detonate the Pan Am bomb"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 20 June, 2000, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Bomb timer 'made by Swiss firm'
Tripoli
The order was allegedly delivered to Tripoli
A Swiss businessman has identified a circuit board fragment which the Lockerbie prosecution team claim was used to detonate the bomb.

Edwin Bollier said he recognised the exhibit as having been manufactured by his company Mebo.

He told a special court sitting in the Netherlands that he saw other timers made by his firm used in desert tests by the Libyan military.

Until now he has consistently disputed his company's involvement in the disaster in which 270 people died.

Earlier in the trial Mr Bollier alleged that one of the accused may have been a member of Colonel Gadaffi's family.

He told how he had met Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi on a number of occasions.


I thought he (Mr Megrahi) had a fairly high position, he was well connected and I thought he was part of Gadaffi's family

Edwin Bollier
Mr Bollier said he believed the accused, whom he pointed out in the special court room, could have been a major in the Libyan Army or was possibly related to Colonel Gadaffi.

He explained to the Scottish judges hearing the case in the Netherlands that his Zurich-based company Mebo had provided electronic timing devices to the Libyan Secret Service.

Timers delivered

Mr Bollier said he went to Tripoli in 1985 to deliver 20 custom-made devices to the headquarters of the Libyan Secret Service.

The prosecution claim one of the company's timers was used to detonate the Pan-Am bomb.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
They deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial is expected to last a year
About 1,000 witnesses are expected to be called
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
Mebo had been doing regular business with the Libyans for years, supplying radio and communications equipment as samples, in anticipation of a much larger order of several thousand.

That order never materialised.

Mr Bollier said he later saw the timers being tested at the special forces training area at Sabha, Libya, and told the court: "I was present when two such timers were included in bomb cylinders."

The 62-year-old added: "They were military aircraft bombs."

Mr Bollier was giving evidence in the trial at Camp Zeist in Holland of Mr Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, who have been accused of causing the Lockerbie disaster.

Edwin Bollier
Edwin Bollier: Identified the accused
All 259 passengers and crew plus 11 people on the ground were killed when New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in the skies above the small Scottish town just before Christmas in December 1988.

Alan Turnbull QC, prosecuting, had asked Mr Bollier why he thought the Libyan secret service wanted timers which could be used to detonate explosives.

He told the court: "Each military has timers. These are devices that can be programmed and after a certain time has elapsed the programming is activated.

"It can be used in order to detonate an explosive charge."

'Used for war'

He said he was told they were needed because Libya was at war with Chad and they wanted to be able to set explosive devices to destroy their own camps if they were unable to return to them within a certain time period.

Mr Bollier thought Mr Megrahi was involved in the military and that he held the rank of major or higher.

"I thought he had a fairly high position, he was well connected and I thought he was part of Gadaffi's family," said Mr Bollier.

Wreckage
Small fragments of evidence were found in the wreckage
He said Mr Megrahi and another man named Badri Hassan had set up a business called ABH at the Mebo offices.

The Lockerbie indictment accuses Mr Megrahi of establishing a "pretended business under the name ABH as a cover for the operations of the Libyan Intelligence Services".

It also alleges that Mr Megrahi and Mr Fhimah "through the hands of Said Rashid and Ezzadin Hinshiri, both also being members of the Libyan Intelligence Services and others" obtained 20 electronic timers from Mebo which were capable of detonating explosive devices.

The court has heard how forensic experts who reconstructed the bomb discovered a tiny fraction of the timer's circuit board which was traced back to Mebo.

Mr Megrahi, 48, and Mr Fhimah, 44, have pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of conspiracy to murder, murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act.

The trial continues.

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | World
Trial told of bomb timer links
15 Jun 00 | World
Lockerbie bomb 'in suitcase'
14 Jun 00 | World
Trial shown cassette 'bomb'
13 Jun 00 | World
Judges issue 'slow down' plea
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