Lockerbie bombing: Hush-hush probe under way in Malta

Police and investigators look at what remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103. Picture: AP
Police and investigators look at what remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103. Picture: AP
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A SECRETIVE new investigation into the Lockerbie bombing has been launched in Malta, it was claimed yesterday.

A report said Scottish prosecutors had asked the Maltese authorities to gather fresh evidence over the 1988 air disaster, caused by a bomb said to have originated on the island.

The Crown Office last night refused to confirm the claims.

It was reported that court hearings took place last week behind closed doors – and security was so tight courtroom peepholes were covered.

The Times of Malta newspaper said: “Several Maltese witnesses were called to testify. The court appears to be reviewing evidence connected to travel logistics but no further information could be obtained.

“Multiple sources have confirmed the hearings were connected with the Lockerbie case and were instigated by what is known as a Rogatory Letter from Scotland. In the letter, a foreign judicial or prosecution institution asks a counterpart in another country for judicial assistance, usually the taking of evidence.”

The development comes as Justice for Megrahi campaigners, who claim Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was innocent of the crime, prepare to repeat their arguments for the case to be re-examined in an inquiry. They will appear before the Scottish Parliament later this month.

The Maltese government has always denied the bomb could have gone through Luqa airport before it was transferred onto the doomed flight in London.

Megrahi’s conviction was underpinned by the disputed testimony of Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci. Mr Gauci identified Megrahi as the person who, in December 1988, made a purchase of clothing, fragments of which were found scattered on the disaster site in Lockerbie.

A Crown Office spokesman said:“Dumfries and Galloway Police are working with US law enforcement in lines of inquiry. It would not be appropriate to offer further comment.”