UK, FBI delegations visit Libya in Lockerbie probe

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Associated Press

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 1 at 1:36 PM

LONDON (AP) — Scottish police and FBI agents visited Libya this week to gather evidence about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people died, Scotland's top legal officer said Friday.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said that a four-person team of Scottish police and prosecutors, along with an FBI delegation, met senior Libyan officials in Tripoli on Monday.

The trip was not announced in advance for security reasons.

Mulholland said the discussions "were positive and it is hoped there will be further progress as a result."

The December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town killed 259 people aboard the plane and 11 on the ground. Many of the victims were American.

Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person convicted over the attack. He was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds after doctors said he had terminal cancer and would die within months.

He died in May 2012, protesting his innocence.

Some victims' families believe Megrahi, who was convicted in 2001, was not responsible for the bombing, and police suspect others may have been involved.

After the 2011 fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Britain asked Libya's new rulers to help fully investigate the bombing and determine whether other individuals should be prosecuted.

News of the investigators' trip came after a British newspaper reported that Libyan authorities had declared the Lockerbie case closed.

Libyan justice minister Salah al-Marghani was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying the case had been "settled" when the Gadhafi government paid about $2.7 billion in compensation to victims' families in 2003. The move was part of attempts by the regime to end its international isolation.

But Britain's Foreign Office said that "the investigation into the Lockerbie case remains open and the government continues to discuss cooperation on this case with the Libyan government."

And Mulholland said that while Libyan authorities had mentioned the compensation, "it was reiterated by the joint delegation that the investigation was focused on identifying others involved in this act of state sponsored terrorism."

He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.

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