Libyans in UK police death 'known'

LONDON: A secret review of the killing of a British policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984 concluded two years ago that there was enough evidence to charge two Libyans, a report said Friday.

A senior lawyer who carried out the review said Matouk Mohammed Matouk and Abdulgader Mohammed Baghdadi could be charged with conspiracy to cause death, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The case review, commissioned by prosecuting authorities on behalf of the Metropolitan Police force, concluded that both men had played key roles in organising the shooting of 25-year-old Yvonne Fletcher, the newspaper said.

Neither man was registered as a diplomat, meaning they did not have immunity from prosecution.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to cause death is life imprisonment.

Fletcher's killer has never been identified. The case remains open, but London police have complained that the investigation stalled when Libya suspended cooperation.

The Telegraph said the review of the case was completed in April 2007, just six weeks before then prime minister Tony Blair held a meeting with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi in Tripoli.

The meeting opened trade links between Britain and the oil-rich north African country.

The policewoman died of gunshot wounds to the abdomen as she was patrolling rival pro- and anti- Kadhafi demonstrations outside the embassy.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told the Telegraph that the police had not provided them with the final case against the two men.

"The CPS has yet to receive a file containing the admissible evidence from a completed investigation.

"It would only be at that point that we could give final advice on prosecution," a spokesman said.

The claims come after Scotland allowed the Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing to be released from jail in August because he has terminal cancer, a move condemned by the United States.

President Barack Obama told Prime Minister Gordon Brown he was "disappointed" at the decision by the Scottish justice minister to free Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi.

Megrahi is the only person convicted of the murder of 270 people, the majority of them Americans, in the bombing of an airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.

The British government strongly denies claims that it put pressure on Scottish authorities to free Megrahi to smooth trade deals with Libya.