Yes or no: Was he really behind act of mass murder?

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Case for the prosecution LIBYA formally accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing in August 2003 in return for Britain introducing a United Nations resolution to lift sanctions against it. A deal was later agreed for Libya to pay the victims compensation.

The UN Security Council had previously banned arms sales and air links to Libya in an effort to force Colonel Gaddafi to hand over the two Libyans suspected of the atrocity. One of the pair, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, was convicted of the bombing in 2001.

The motive generally attributed to Libya can be traced back to a series of military confrontations with the US navy in the 1980s in the Gulf of Sidra, all of which Libya had claimed as its territorial waters. Col Gaddafi is suspected of ordering the atrocity in retaliation for the US bombing of Benghazi and Tripoli in 1986. One of the 41 victims was Col Gaddafi's adopted daughter.

Case for the defence

CYNICS are likely to question the motives of Mustafa Abdel-Jalil over his claim Col Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing.

It is only two days since he quit the regime amid protests at the level of violence used to quell the anti-government uprising. His former leader has vowed to have opponents executed and he may well be trying to secure a safe passage out of Libya, where his interview with Swedish journalist Kassem Hamade took place.

Col Gaddafi has never admitted ordering the bombing, despite Libya accepting responsibility eight years ago and agreeing compensation for the families of the victims. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had been pursuing an appeal over his conviction before he was freed on compassionate grounds.

Many experts believe an alternative theory: that a group of terrorists known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command carried out the attack at the behest of Iran.

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