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Friday, 2 February, 2001, 15:07 GMT
Lockerbie: Libyan media's view
Libyan TV presenter
The verdicts were read out on Libyan TV
Libyans have been kept up to date about the Lockerbie trial verdict by their state media, but the details have been all but drowned out by rhetoric.

The verdict has led the Libyan state television news, but reports have been at pains to stress the "injustice" of the 1986 US bombing raid on Tripoli and the international sanctions which it now wants lifted immediately.

Fhimah (left) with Muammar Gaddafi
Fhimah's return to Libya: Hailed as a "victory"
Libyan television reported the return home of one of the two suspects - Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah - as a "victory".

"Fhimah is stepping out of the aircraft showing the victory sign. Yes, we have won this case!" the television commentary said.

"One of the aspects of our victory is our ability to impose our conditions and demands - above all, that the trial must be held in a neutral country, not in America or Britain," it said.

Denial

Libya has long denied government involvement in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

The television commentary made no mention of the fact that the convicted man - Abdel Basset al-Megrahi - was described by the judges as a Libyan intelligence agent "occupying posts of fairly high rank".

The commentary voiced confidence that Mr Megrahi would win his appeal against the sentence of life imprisonment by the Scottish court in the Netherlands.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi
Megrahi: Libya insists he is innocent

"We are certain that he will be found not guilty and we are certain that Libyan nationals as well as the ethics of the international great Fatih revolution, which defends freedom everywhere in the world, could have never been behind such incidents," it said.

The first report of the trial verdict on Libyan television came in a live broadcast from Camp Zeist in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

"The verdict was that brother Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was guilty, but brother Amin is not guilty. However, the defence will submit a memorandum of appeal within 14 days as from today," it said, without further comment.

Gaddafi steps in

The television news on Thursday evening led with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's rejection of the verdict. It showed Mr Gaddafi embracing Mr Fhimah on his return to Libya.


We must not forget the victims of 1986, the massacre of 1986

Muammar Gaddafi

The report was juxtaposed with footage of the 1986 bombing of Tripoli, including archive shots of Mr Gaddafi speaking to journalists amid the bomb damage.

Announcing that he would reveal new evidence about Lockerbie on Monday, Mr Gaddafi reiterated Libya's demand for compensation over the 1986 raid by US bombers.

"We must not forget the victims of 1986, the massacre of 1986... Regardless of the court verdict, we also have our victims. Look at what happened to our children!" Mr Gaddafi said.

"What about compensation for these innocent victims? Nothing will be enough to compensate for their loss."

'Double standards'

Libyan officials argue that the West is guilty of double standards - demanding compensation over the Lockerbie bombing while refusing to compensate Libya for the 1986 raid.

UN sanctions
Embargo on commercial flights and some trade
Freezing of assets
Suspended April 1999
US sanctions
Ban on sale of oil-related equipment
Air and arms embargo
Mr Gaddafi said he would reveal evidence so strong that it would leave the judges just three options: "to commit suicide or to resign or to admit the truth".

Libyan television has also cited outside support for Libya's position on sanctions - notably from the former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

Striking a more conciliatory note, Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna Chiouch said: "Now that the Lockerbie case is behind us, we look forward with interest to improving our relations with the United States in the interests of both countries and of peace worldwide".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Listen to Libyan TV
Libyan TV on freed Lockerbie suspect (in Arabic)

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

AUDIO VIDEO

Appeal concludes

Key stories

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See also:

01 Feb 01 | Middle East
02 Feb 01 | Middle East
02 Feb 01 | Middle East
01 Feb 01 | Country profiles
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