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BBC Radio 5 Live's James Shaw reports
"Giaka is described as something close to a second-hand car dealer"
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The BBC's Steve Kingstone
"Defence lawyers presented new information previously withheld"
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Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Judges reject CIA papers plea
Lord Sutherland
Lord Sutherland: "Lord Advocate should make request"
The judges hearing the Lockerbie trial have refused a defence request to ask the US Government to help secure the release of more secret CIA documents.

Lawyers for the two Libyans accused demanded the release of all the information held by the CIA relating to the activities of Abdul Majid Giaka, who has been cited as a witness for the prosecution, between 1988 and 1991.

They wanted a US judge to determine what details could be withheld in the interests of national security.

The request from defence counsel Richard Keen QC emerged following lengthy legal argument at the Scottish court in the Netherlands.

His colleague, Bill Taylor QC, told the court that it had become apparent through reading the documents that other telegrams existed and he said they wanted to see the full complement.

The three judges rejected Mr Keen's motion which would have involved formal "letters of request" being sent to the US government.

Colin Boyd QC
Prosecutor Colin Boyd QC
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd had told the court that the process, which is facilitated by a mutual assistance treaty could take six months.

Presiding judge Lord Sutherland said the court wanted to avoid such a potential delay.

However they advised that Mr Boyd should contact the CIA himself and request the release of the missing telegrams.

He said: "As the lord advocate has accepted that the latest versions of cables disclosed reference to other cables, we think it right that the lord advocate should be asked to consider whether he can use his best endeavours to obtain such cables.

"If the lord advocate can't obtain the necessary information from the CIA then it may be necessary to reconsider the letters of request. I hope it's not necessary to go down that route."

Mr Boyd said he needed time to respond and the case was adjourned until Wednesday.

National security

Last week the defence was granted access to largely uncensored CIA documents after lawyers complained that versions seen by the prosecution were less heavily edited than their versions.

The documents had been censored for reasons of national security or because they contained details not considered relevant to the trial.

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
On Tuesday, defence counsel William Taylor QC revealed the content of material which was originally blanked out in order to illustrate its relevance to the trial.

The documents - telegrams of interviews between the CIA and Giaka - contain details of negotiations between the former Libyan spy, who became an American double agent, and his contacts in the US.

They revealed how Giaka, whose codename was P1, was paid a monthly salary of $1,000 (666), but that his handlers were considering stopping payments unless he came up with more information on the Libyan Intelligence Services.

He also asked for money to set up a car hire business in Malta and for false surgery, an incision which would leave a scar, for example, so that he could avoid military service in Libya.

The documents also referred to Giaka's apparent opposition to the Gadaffi regime in Libya and stated he was a distant relation of King Idris, who was deposed by Colonel Gadaffi in a military coup in 1969.

Giaka may be called to give evidence later this week.

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25 Aug 00 | World
Lockerbie documents handed over
23 Aug 00 | World
Waiting for the 'supergrass'
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