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Friday, 24 August, 2001, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Lockerbie bomber 'should be freed'
Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah with Colonel Gaddafi
Mr Fhimah with Colonel Gaddafi on his return to Libya
The man cleared of the Lockerbie bombing has protested the innocence of the man found guilty of the atrocity.

Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah told a newspaper that he was "totally convinced" that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was not guilty.

The two Libyans stood trial for the murder of the 270 people who died when Pan Am Flight 103 came down at Lockerbie in 1988.

Mr Fhimah was found not guilty of the bombing at a special Scottish court in the Netherlands in January, but Al Megrahi was convicted and jailed for life.


Whoever was planning to bomb the aircraft, he didn't know where the aircraft would come down. Scotland was involved by chance

Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah
The Crown Office announced on Thursday that he had been granted formal leave to appeal that conviction.

And on Friday, The Scotsman newspaper published a report of an interview with 44-year-old Mr Fhimah, who called for his friend to be freed.

He told the paper: "I'm happy that the truth came out as far as I'm concerned.

"I hope that the same thing will happen soon to Mr Megrahi and I will see him back in Libya.

"I am totally convinced he is innocent. I hope the appeal judges study this case carefully."

Mr Fhimah said he was angry that the families of some of the American victims were pursuing him for civil damages through the US courts in a lawsuit.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohammed Al-Megrahi
Al Megrahi was jailed for life
And he said he believed it was an "accident" that the plane exploded above the Scottish town.

"Whoever was planning to bomb the aircraft, he didn't know where the aircraft would come down," he said.

"Scotland was involved by chance.

"The Scottish people became the victims by accident. You are dealing with a plane that was flying all over the land. I know this as an airline official."

Al Megrahi, 49, lodged notice of his intention to appeal against conviction in February, and his legal advisers lodged the full grounds for the appeal several months ago.

A judge made the decision that the appeal should go ahead.

Lawyer's confidence

The grounds for the appeal are not being made public, but Al Megrahi's defence team is likely to challenge evidence of Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci.

Earlier this month Al Megrahi's lead defence lawyer, Dr Ibrahim Legwell, said he was confident the Libyan would soon be freed.

English barrister Michael Mansfield QC and US human rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz are also involved in the fight to free Al Megrahi.

The appeal, which will be heard at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands like the original case, will be considered by five judges.


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

AUDIO VIDEO

Appeal concludes

Key stories

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The trial
See also:

23 Aug 01 | In Depth
29 Jun 01 | In Depth
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