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Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
UN 'assured Libya' over Lockerbie trial
Two accused in court
The two accused deny all the charges
The United Nations has released the text of a 1999 letter assuring the Libyan Government about the treatment of the two Lockerbie bombing suspects.

The correspondence from UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, contained pledges that the two men "will not be used to undermine the Libyan regime".

But relatives of some of those who died in the tragedy are concerned that the letter pledged that no charges relating to the bombing would be brought against the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

The Pan Am flight 103 bound for New York was blown up over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people.

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 three Scottish judges

The letter was sent a few weeks before Libya handed over Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, on 5 April 1999, for trial before a Scottish court now sitting in the Netherlands.

The two Libyans are accused of concealing a bomb in a suitcase in Malta and routing it onto flight 103 via Frankfurt.

But Susan Cohen, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora was one of 189 Americans killed aboard the jumbo jet, said she believed the letter had set limits to the investigation.

"I do not think it is innocent," she said. "This lays out a deal. It lets him (Gaddafi) off the hook.

"We are talking about the mass murder of 270 people. It should go all the way up to the people who ordered it."

The Scottish Court at Camp Zeist
The Scottish Court at Camp Zeist
The news follows the handing over of fresh versions of classified Central Intelligence Agency documents to defence lawyers at the trial.

But lawyers for the two accused have asked for more time to consider the controversial telegrams concerning a key prosecution witness.

They say it could take them a week to pore over the documents - which still have some deletions.

And this could further delay prosecution efforts to call Abdul Majid Giaka, who is expected to give vital evidence on the events at Malta Airport, from where the suitcase containing the bomb is alleged to have been despatched.

The trial will continue on Monday.

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See also:

25 Aug 00 | World
Lockerbie documents handed over
23 Aug 00 | World
Waiting for the 'supergrass'
22 Aug 00 | Scotland
Crash orphan in train tragedy
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