Libya appoints Lockerbie prosecutors

Lockerbie plane A Pan Am jet flying to the US was blown up over Lockerbie killing 270 people

Libya has appointed two prosecutors to work on the Lockerbie case.

Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has told the BBC the Libyans will work alongside Scottish and US investigators.

Mr Mulholland, Scotland's senior prosecutor, said it was a welcome development.

Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of killing 270 people when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie in southern Scotland.

Mr Mulholland said: "As a result of developing good relations and understanding of what we're trying to achieve, the Libyan law enforcement have appointed two prosecutors to work with the US and Scottish prosecutors in investigating this.

"So that's a welcome development and hopefully this will progress matters."

Scottish investigators have said they hoped the Libyan revolution, which deposed Col Muammar Gaddafi in August 2011, would open up new lines of inquiry.

Analysis

Lockerbie investigators think there may be documents and witnesses in Libya that could lead them to further suspects in the case.

The only person ever convicted of the bombing was a Libyan agent, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, and the court that convicted him said he had been part of a state-sponsored terrorist act.

Ever since the revolution that overthrew Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, Scottish and American authorities have sought fresh co-operation from Libya.

A year ago, the Libyan ambassador to London, Mahmud Nacua, said the new government in Tripoli would release all files relating to Lockerbie but only when the country's security had been established.

Libya has become less stable since then with militias exercising considerable power.

That instability will make it harder to pursue fresh lines of inquiry in the Lockerbie case.

Early release

Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the 1988 bombing, but British officials have been attempting to establish whether anyone else in Libya could be brought to trial.

The Scottish government released Megrahi from jail on compassionate grounds after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died last year still protesting his innocence.

Megrahi's release in 2009 was strongly criticised by the US administration.

US president Barack Obama said at the time: "We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this and we thought it was a mistake."

In March, Scottish police and prosecutors visited Libya to discuss the Lockerbie investigation.

The four-person team from the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary was accompanied by an FBI delegation from Washington.

It met senior officials from the Libyan government in Tripoli.

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