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Father of Lockerbie bomb victim in Libya talks

THE father of a student killed in the Lockerbie bombing has visited Libya and is thought to have met with people associated with the atrocity.

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the incident 23 years ago, has just returned from the country held responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103 on December 21, 1988.

The news comes as Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate, attended the annual Lockerbie memorial service in the US for the first time.

Dr Swire, who cannot discuss his visit to Libya for legal reasons, is expected to appear in a documentary in the New Year. It is thought he may have interviewed Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the bombing who was released from Greenock prison on compassionate grounds in 2009.

Dr Swire has publicly questioned the conviction and voiced support for Megrahi's release in the past. He had previously met the Libyan in prison in Scotland and in Libya.

Megrahi's official biography is expected early next year. The book is likely to reveal key elements of the 800-page unpublished report from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) which referred the matter back to the appeal court.

Dr Swire's visit to Libya follows the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime earlier this year and suggestions that previously unseen documents would provide answers to remaining questions about who was responsible for the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on mainland Britain.

Scottish police may travel to Libya as early as January to pursue their investigations.

Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the bombing but his case was referred back to the appeal court in 2007 by the SCCRC on six different grounds that suggested there may have been a miscarriage of justice. Campaigners, including Dr Swire, have called for a public inquiry into the bombing.

A report sent to the Scottish Justice Committee revealed that even at the time of the indictment of Megrahi and another Libyan who was acquitted, intelligence suggested the bomb had been provided by a Syrian terror group.

The report also raised concerns about major anomalies in the forensic evidence.

Earlier this week Mr Mulholland met FBI director Robert Mueller and US Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington to discuss sending investigators to Libya. It is understood potential witnesses have been identified and negotiations are taking place to ensure they are interviewed. One target is thought to be Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, who stood trial with Megrahi but was acquitted.

Other suspects include Gaddafi's brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, who headed Libya's intelligence services, and Ibrahim Nayili, Libya's former head of airline security.

Dr Swire said he could not comment.

l A nurse who braved the gunfire and shells of civil war in Libya has been nominated for a humanitarian award for her "inspirational" work. Karen Graham, who is working in Tripoli, was named as one of three nominees for the Robert Burns award, which will be presented on January 28.

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