BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Friday, 21 July, 2000, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Lockerbie: Frankfurt security 'flaws'
Court police
The court heard of discrepancies at Frankfurt
The defence team at the Lockerbie trial has sought to highlight holes in baggage security and procedures at Frankfurt Airport.

Lawyers hope to introduce "reasonable doubt" in the minds of the three Scottish judges who will decide the guilty or innocence of the two Libyan accused.

They are trying to show that failings in baggage security meant it would have been possible for Palestinian activists to have planted the bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1998.

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, 1998, 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, in Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands, is expected to last a year
About 1,000 witnesses are expected to be called
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
The prosecution says Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima and Abdel Basset al-Megrahi posed as Libyan Arab Airlines employees at Malta's Luqa airport to put a suitcase bomb on a plane to Frankfurt.

It says they put stolen transfer tags on the case, which passed through an X-ray machine at Frankfurt airport and onto the New York-bound Boeing 747.

Defence counsel Jack Davidson asked witness Wolfgang Manner, a former Pan Am gate agent at Frankfurt, if a standby passenger could have checked in luggage without it going through the airport's computerised baggage system.

Through an interpretor, he replied: "That's what I remember, yes."

The defence also showed that baggage details registered in the airport's computer system were not always completely accurate.

They highlighted a discrepancy in the number of pieces of luggage belonging to one passenger.

Numbers difference

Karen Noonan's ticket had shown that she checked in three units of baggage, while a document detailing passenger check-in details indicated only two items of her luggage were on the aircraft.

Earlier in the week, the defence had asked witnesses from the airport to account for a series of errors, contradictions. omissions and corrections in baggage handling procedures.

On Wednesday, the court heard how a US Federal Aviation Administration report had criticised Pan Am security at the airport months after the Lockerbie bombing.

The court adjourned for the weekend and will reconvene on Tuesday morning.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more World stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World stories