SCOTLAND’S top law officer and the US attorney general have issued a formal request to interview two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.
The Crown Office confirmed it had identified the pair who it believes were involved in the bombing along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the attack in December 1988 that killed 270 people.
Prosecutors have not confirmed the names of the two suspects they are seeking to interview but last month a US documentary by Ken Dornstein, a victim’s brother, named Abu Agila Mas’ud – who was an original suspect but never faced charges.
It is understood that Mas’ud is one of the suspects along with Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi’s brother in law and head of intelligence who is facing a death sentence in Libya.
The move by the Crown Office represents one of the most significant legal developments in the case since Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years behind bars in 2001.
Megrahi, who was released from jail by the Scottish Government in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, died in 2012 protesting his innocence.
The two individuals are suspected of involvement, along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 in December 1988 and the murder of 270 people.Crown Office
Scotland’s Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC recently met the US attorney general Loretta Lynch in Washington to review progress made in the investigation.
They have now requested permission from the Libyan authorities for Scottish police and the FBI to interview the two suspects in Tripoli.
A Crown Office spokesman said yesterday: “The Lord Advocate and the US attorney general have recently agreed that there is a proper basis in law in Scotland and the United States to entitle Scottish and US investigators to treat two Libyans as suspects in the continuing investigation into the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
“The Lord Advocate has today, therefore, issued an International Letter of Request to the Libyan Attorney General in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans as suspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103.
“The two individuals are suspected of involvement, along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 in December 1988 and the murder of 270 people.”
The investigation remains a joint one between US and Scottish prosecutors, Police Scotland and the FBI.
Susan Cohen from New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora was killed in the bombing, said: “I’m delighted that they are doing this. We the American families have been pressing and pressing for the bombing to be properly investigated. I want to make it clear that I think Megrahi did it but the trial was framed too narrowly. The governments have been dragging their feet and they should have been looking for other people involved, because it wasn’t just Megrahi.”
Some families of UK victims remain sceptical that Megrahi was involved.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing, believes Megrahi was wrongly convicted. He said: “To try to bolt two more names on top of that is a very difficult situation.”
He said that any new suspects would have to be prosecuted with “very much better evidence than was used to achieve the conviction of Megrahi”.
Detective chief superintendent Gerry McLean of Police Scotland, said the force would play a role in any future investigation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean said: “Police Scotland continues to work with US law enforcement authorities and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service investigating the bombing of flight PamAm 103. We are aware of the latest developments and remain committed to supporting the investigation appropriately.”