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EDITIONS
Monday, 15 October, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Relative's doubts over Lockerbie case
Marina de Larracoechea
Miss de Larracoechea said there has been a cover-up
By BBC Scotland's James Cook and Murray Cox

The sister of a victim of the Lockerbie bombing has said she is "not convinced" the man convicted of it carried out the attack.

Marina de Larracoechea, whose sister Maria died in the outrage, on Monday demanded an independent review of the case.

Miss de Larracoechea asked the five judges at the Scottish court in the Netherlands, due to hear an appeal by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, to look at the evidence gathered.

Her request was dismissed by the panel which said it was only able to hear Al Megrahi's appeal against his conviction.

Abdel Baset Ali Mohammed Al-Megrahi
Al Megrahi was convicted in January 2001

Al Megrahi was convicted, in January this year, of mass murder over the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, with the loss of 270 lives.

Forty-nine-year-old Al Megrahi's co-accused Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted at the same time by the court, specially convened at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

However, Miss de Larracoechea, speaking to BBC Scotland, said she was not satisfied with either Al Megrahi's conviction or the evidence which was heard in court.

And she said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command could have been responsible.

She said: "I didn't see enough in the trial to convince me that he did it, but I think the defence should have gone further in making the case. But, as I said, what I saw didn't convince me."

Asked who she believed was responsible she said: "I think it goes back to the PFLP-GC and the original scenario. I think it's simpler, and I think it's what was there originally. It's very possible that things have not been fully presented."

Miss de Larracoechea said she believed there has effectively been a cover-up over the bombing by various intelligence agencies, saying: "It's just not convenient to look into what really happened."

Camp Zeist police
The appeal will be heard at Camp Zeist

She said: "I think the main problems for us, for the victims and us the relatives, is the relevant intelligence gathered prior, the credibility and the specificity of this intelligence, the fact that it was evaluated seriously, that it was used to benefit and save the lives of government employees and yet these agencies, who have the duty to gather intelligence and act upon it, the duty to care, they didn't do anything for the public and I think that is where the real responsibilities lie."

Asked whether there should be a public inquiry in an effort to draw out that intelligence, she said: "I had hoped that we could have done much faster than really, considering the absurdity of going into a public inquiry 15 years after where we'll probably all be ga-ga if we are still alive and the chances of getting to any fresh or important evidence has been taken care of a long time ago.

"I mean the essence of a good investigation is that you get your hands on it as soon as possible.

"Not 15 years after, 15 years after in this process with the most colossal investigation of the 20th century is a victimisation of the relatives of the victims."

Wreckage
"The most colossal investigation of the 20th century"

She added: "We are victims of the way this case is being handled."

Miss de Larracoechea said she believed there had been widespread political interference in the case from the outset.

That interference, she said, came from London, Washington and Germany.

She said: "In an international, geopolitical situation with many agendas and it changes, it varies. But at the corner of the Pan Am 103 I think there is no doubt that there is the United States, England and Germany."

Miss de Larracoechea added that despite her reservations about the way the case has been handled, she remains determined to see justice done.

"We'll keep trying," she said, "that is all I can say, but I think this is an unduly lengthy process of getting to the truth. I mean, 13 years, it's a long time, but we'll keep trying."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson reports
"It took just about half an hour for the judges to hear the appeal by Marina de Larracoechea"

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:

15 Oct 01 | In Depth
14 Oct 01 | In Depth
11 Sep 01 | In Depth
24 Aug 01 | In Depth
23 Aug 01 | In Depth
02 May 01 | In Depth
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