Official Says Libya Will Try Pair in Pan Am Bombing
Libya will try two men charged by U.S. and British authorities in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and will deliver the severest punishment--death--if they are guilty, Libya’s foreign minister said Sunday.
However, the official, Ibrahim Mohammed Bashari, said his government does not think the men are guilty.
Earlier, an official in Libya’s Information Ministry said the two Libyans went on trial Sunday, but he indicated that the proceeding was actually a hearing rather than a trial. The discrepancy could not be immediately clarified.
The two men, identified by the Americans and British as Libyan intelligence agents, have been accused of smuggling a bomb aboard the New York-bound jumbo jet. The plane was blown apart over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 20, 1988, and 270 people were killed.
London and Washington insist that Libya admit responsibility, compensate families of victims and surrender the suspects for trial in a U.S. or Scottish court. A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office repeated that demand Sunday, saying a Libyan trial would not change Britain’s stance.
No date was given for a Libyan trial for the accused, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi.