Last updated: 10 September, 2012

Libya adjourns trial over Lockerbie funds

Tripoli’s criminal court on Monday adjourned the trial of two former senior Libyan officials accused of abusing funds set aside to compensate families of Lockerbie bombing victims, an AFP reporter said.

The trial of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s foreign minister Abdellati al-Obeidi and his head of parliament Belgassem al-Zwai will now take place on October 15.

Charges read out by the judge accused the former officials of mismanaging public funds meant for compensating families of victims of the 1988 Lockerbie attack, which Libya accepted responsibility for in 2003.

The two men, responsible for negotiating with the families, paid them double what was initially agreed as compensation in return for removing Libya for a list of countries supporting terrorism, according to the charge sheet.

There were no further details.

The bomb attack that blew up PanAm flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie killed all of its 259 passengers and 11 more on the ground.

Libya eventually paid relatives of the victims $2.7 billion in compensation.

Obeidi and Zwai denied the accusations and their defence asked for more time to review the case.

The public prosecution office told AFP last week that the two men are also being questioned over involvement in attempting to crush the Libyan revolt that unseated Kadhafi last year, and will be face further charges.

The first trial of a senior official accused of killing demonstrators in the uprising against Kadhafi opened in June, when former foreign intelligence chief Bouzid Dorda appeared in a Tripoli court.