Egyptian is ‘the prime suspect for Lockerbie bombing’
Mohammed Abu Talb was blamed for the bombing in the investigators’ 2002 report
Sunday 15 December 2013
An Egyptian terrorist should be considered as a prime suspect in the Lockerbie bombing, according to a report by two leading investigators.
Evidence used to convict Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was faked and police may have been misled by a member of the US secret services, the investigators allege. Their report instead blames Mohammed Abu Talb, a terrorist with links to Palestinian militant groups who is currently living in Sweden after serving a prison sentence for bombings in Europe.
Megrahi was given a life sentence for the bombing in 2001. He was released eight years later by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds as he had terminal cancer, and died last year.
The “Operation Bird” report – by Jessica de Grazia, former chief assistant district attorney in New York, and Philip Corbett, a former police officer and ex-security advisor to the Bank of England – concluded Talb had bribed a worker at Heathrow to smuggle the suitcase containing the bomb onto the flight.
The report also said a key piece of the evidence – part of a circuit board allegedly used in the bomb’s timer – was faked and a shirt in which it was supposedly found had been tampered with.
Ms de Grazia and Mr Corbett were commissioned to look into the case by Megrahi’s defence team while it was working on his second appeal, dropped after his release.
Their report, which was written in 2002 but never published, suggested police were “directed off course” and that this was “most likely” done by a senior official in the CIA.
“We have never seen a criminal investigation in which there has been such a consistent disregard of an alternative and far more persuasive theory of the case,” it added.
Talb was jailed for life in Sweden after being convicted of carrying out terrorist bombings in 1985 in Copenhagen, Denmark and Amsterdam, Holland. He did not respond to a request for comment from Al-Jazeera television.
Dr Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora was a passenger on the plane, said Talb was “a life-long, proven terrorist”.
“I believe he played a crucial part in causing the Lockerbie disaster,” Dr Swire told Exaro, an investigative news website. “My elected government actively prevented me from obtaining my human rights to know why my daughter’s life was not protected, and who it was who killed her.”
Former MP Tam Dalyell, who helped enlist Nelson Mandela to negotiate the deal that saw Libya surrender Megrahi for trial, told The Independent that Megrahi was an innocent man used as a “sanctions buster” for Libya.
“I was amazed they didn’t point the finger at Talb and condemned Megrahi. I was astonished at the outcome,” he said.
John Ashton, co-author of Cover-Up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie, wrote on his blog that the Operation Bird report’s claim that Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Council and “fellow travellers, including Hezbollah” carried out the bombing was “likely true”.
But he doubted Talb was the bomber, because he had recently been arrested then released by Swedish police and so would have suspected he was being followed.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said Megrahi’s relatives could ask for a posthumous appeal, “which Ministers would be entirely comfortable with”.
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
Three-year-old boy accidentally shoots dead his mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as she changes her younger daughter's nappy
Michael Brown shooting: Driver smashes into crowd as protests erupt across the US during a second night of unrest
Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
- 1 I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' near to camp
- 3 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 4 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 5 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football