New line of probe in Lockerbie bombing case

LONDON: British police are considering new lines of inquiry in the Lockerbie bombing case, including a possible review of forensic evidence, a newspaper reported today.

The Sunday Telegraph said British relatives of victims were informed of the development in an e-mail from Scottish prosecutors, which said evidence in the probe has been periodically reviewed in order to identify new areas of investigation.

After Abdel Baset al-Megrahi — the only person convicted in the 1988 attack — dropped an appeal against his conviction earlier this year, prosecutors took another look, the e-mail said. The Telegraph said it had seen the e-mail and attributed it to Lindsey Miller, a senior Scottish prosecutor.

“Now that the appeal proceedings are at an end a further review of the case is under way and several potential lines of inquiry, both through a ‘desktop’ (paper) exercise and consultation with forensic science colleagues are being considered,” the Telegraph quoted the e-mail as saying. The mail said elaboration would be inappropriate, “but please be assured that this is not simply paying lip service to the idea of an ‘open’ case.” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the BBC that the investigation into the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 — which killed 259 people, mostly Americans, in the air and another 11 on the ground — had never been formally closed.

“It is wholly appropriate that if there are grounds for taking new steps, they should be taken,” Miliband said.

Scottish authorities were not immediately available for comment. Al-Megrahi was freed by Scottish authorities in August on compassionate grounds after doctors said he had terminal cancer. He returned to a hero’s welcome in Tripoli, which outraged some victims’ families and sparked protests by US


Victims’ relatives group UK Families Flight 103 have asked British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a full, independent, public inquiry into the attack. A Downing Street spokeswoman said they have received a letter from the group and will reply soon.

But Miliband said any inquiry would be a decision for Scottish government.