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EDITIONS
Friday, 2 February, 2001, 10:47 GMT
US lawyers revive Lockerbie claim
US relatives at Camp Zeist
Relatives comfort each other after the trial
Lawyers representing relatives of US Lockerbie victims are to resume legal proceedings in an estimated $10bn (£6.7bn) damages claim against the Libyan Government.


With the conviction of Megrahi ... we are in a position to hold Libya responsible as his principle or employee

Jim Kreindler
Jim Kreindler, who is leading the case on behalf of 150 relatives, said the conviction on Wednesday of Libyan intelligence agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi for the 1988 bombing was key to their case.

The civil action, which was halted to allow the trial of two Libyans to go ahead in the Netherlands, is to claim compensation and punitive damages from the North African state.

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has said that Al Megrahi is innocent and that he will "reveal the evidence" on Monday.

Megrahi
Al Megrahi: Jailed for life
Asked whether he would pay compensation to the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, he replied that it was Libya that was owed compensation.

His country had received nothing to make up for the years of UN sanctions, nor for the devastating American air raid on Tripoli in 1986.

Al Megrahi was jailed for 20 years by a Scottish court at Camp Zeist for the murder of 270 people in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

His co-accused, Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, was found not guilty and has returned to a hero's welcome in Libya.

Sanctions question

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Kreindler said: "With the conviction of Megrahi, and a very detailed, explicit finding that he was an agent and employee of the JSO (Libyan Intelligence Services) - an arm of the Libyan Government - we are in a position to hold Libya responsible as his principle or employee."

UK families held a news conference on Thursday to call for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the bombing.

fhima
Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima celebrates his freedom in Tripoli
They said they wanted to know who knew what about threats of a bomb and whether anything was done about it.

Politicians in both the US and the UK have called on Colonel Gaddafi to comply with a United Nations Security Council resolution that Libya accept responsibility for the bombing and compensate the families of the victims.

London and Washington are demanding $740m (£500m) in compensation, or about $3m (£2m) for each Lockerbie victim.

And they have said that sanctions against Libya will not be lifted until that happens.

UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook said: "Libya has in the past said that it would pay compensation if there was a guilty verdict.

"There has been a guilty verdict, and a guilty verdict against a very senior official of Libyan intelligence."

Al Megrahi has yet to say whether he plans to appeal against his conviction or sentence.

Libya's newly-appointed ambassador to Britain said his government would consider compensation if such an appeal was rejected - in contradiction to Tripoli's line that it had nothing to do with the bombing and was not liable.

Mohamed Azwai told BBC radio: "We said it before that if our people are guilty, we pay compensation at that time, but until this moment we believe as a legal matter that is still not final."

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The BBC's James Robbins
"The verdict has been condemned by Gaddafi"

Full verdicts
Lockerbie opinion posted by Scots Court Service
Lockerbie megapuff graphic

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02 Feb 01 | Middle East
02 Feb 01 | Middle East
01 Feb 01 | In Depth
01 Feb 01 | Media reports
01 Feb 01 | In Depth
01 Feb 01 | Americas
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