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The BBC's Joshua Rozenberg reports
"The judge has agreed in private to let relatives watch the proceedings"
 real 28k

Friday, 4 February, 2000, 04:22 GMT
TV broadcast for Lockerbie trial

Lockerbie crash The Lockerbie trial will be broadcast to relatives

The judge who is to preside over the trial of the two men accused of the Lockerbie bombing has ruled that the proceedings can be broadcast to relatives of the 270 people who died.

A spokesman for the Scottish Sxecutive said Lord Sutherland had agreed to let the proceedings be relayed from the specially-built court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands to relatives watching in London, Washington, New York, and the nearest town to Lockerbie, Dumfries.

Lord Sutherland Lord Sutherland refused to consider the BBC's approach
Two Libyans are to go on trial in May charged with blowing up a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, in Scotland, in December 1988.

The camp will be deemed Scottish territory for the duration of the trial, which is due to begin on 3 May.

Defence lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 47, and Al Ami Khalifa Fhimah, 43, entered not guilty pleas at a special hearing in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Last August, relatives of those who died at Lockerbie were told by Scotland's senior prosecutor, the Lord Advocate Lord Hardie, that they would be able to watch the trial, without having to travel to the Netherlands.

Supervised conditions

But on Wednesday it became clear that neither Lord Sutherland nor the defence lawyers had given their approval.

A spokesman for the Scottish Executive told the BBC that Lord Sutherland had subsequently agreed in private to let relatives watch the proceedings under supervised conditions.

The presiding judge's approval does not, however, extend to allowing the trial to be televised more widely and the BBC has said it will be seeking permission for this from another court.

On Wednesday, Lord Sutherland rebuffed an attempt by the BBC to raise the issue of whether the trial should be televised by telling a lawyer for the corporation that he had no formal role in the hearing.

The trial will be Britain's biggest mass murder trial, which will take place under Scots law, although the two Libyans have consistently denied involvement in the bombing.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Scotland
Lockerbie suspects plead not guilty
21 Dec 99 |  World
Gaddafi plans Lockerbie apology demand
08 Dec 99 |  Europe
Lockerbie conspiracy charges to stand
07 Dec 99 |  Europe
Bomb plot row at Lockerbie hearing
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Lockerbie legalities explained
18 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Lockerbie judges' biographies
22 Nov 99 |  World
Lockerbie defence given papers
29 Oct 99 |  World
Lockerbie charges in full
05 Apr 99 |  World
Trial follows years of bargaining

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