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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Trial hears Gaddafi 'mason' claim
Armed police
Security is intense around the courtroom
A key witness claimed he was related to a Libyan king and that Colonel Gaddafi was involved in an international masonic conspiracy, the Lockerbie trial has heard.

Abdul Majid Giaka, 40, was said by the defence to have made the statements to his CIA handlers.

Giaka, a Libyan defector who now lives under protection in the US, is being cross-examined by lawyers for the two accused who are trying to discredit his evidence.

Bill Taylor QC referred to a previously secret CIA cable dated late 1989 which suggested the double agent be "cut off without a penny" from 1 January 1990 unless he came up with useful information.

He suggested Giaka came up with vital new evidence within hours of a make-or-break meeting with CIA agents and US Department of Justice officials.

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 his first day in court Tuesday, Giaka said he saw the two accused in Malta in December 1988 arriving from Tripoli with a brownish Samsonite suitcase.

Mr Taylor said this incident had not been mentioned to the CIA minders in Malta. "The whole business of the brown Samsonite suitcase is an invention that comes along late in the day," he said.

Giaka replied: "I had no interest in telling anybody any lies."

In the murder indictment against them, Megrahi and Fhimah allegedly packed Semtex plastic explosives and a timer into a Toshiba radio cassette recorder that was then concealed in a Samsonite suitcase.

That suitcase was then, it is alleged, put onto a flight out of Malta, tagged for transfer in London onto Pan American Flight 103 on 21 December, 1988.

'Devious concoction

Mr Taylor suggested that Giaka's description of being shown a stash of explosives in the Libyan Arab Airlines office at Malta airport, where he worked with the defendants, was a "downright lie".

He told Giaka: "That was a complete fabrication by you and it was carefully thought out to be uncheckable. This was entirely deviously concocted by you."

Giaka, who is giving evidence under strict security with his identity disguised from the public gallery, insisted he was telling the truth.

Richard Keen, defending Fhimah, said Giaka had told US agents he was a relative of King Idris of Libya and that Colonel Gaddafi was involved in an international masonic plot.

Colonel Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi: "International mason"
Mr Keen asked the same question six times: "How did you discover that Colonel Gadaffi is a mason?"

The witness repeatedly asked Mr Keen for the source of his question before being ordered to answer by the presiding judge Lord Sutherland.

"I know that from a person but I can't divulge the name of that person.

"The person is in Libya and for security considerations I can't mention the name of that person," he added.

Giaka said he never claimed he was related to King Idris. The comment might have arisen from a translation error during an interview with the CIA.

Mr Keen declared: "Mr Giaka, you are a liar, aren't you? You tell big lies and you tell small lies, but you lie, do you not?"

He replied: "I do not lie about anything."

The trial continues.

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See also:

26 Sep 00 | World
Spy 'saw' Lockerbie suspects
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Spy's court date finalised
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