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Families May See Lockerbie Trial

August 19, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Families of victims of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner may be able to watch the trial of the accused bombers via a special television hookup, officials said Thursday.

But Scotland’s senior law officer, Lord Hardie, ruled out a general television broadcast of the trial.

Two Libyans _ Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah _ are to be tried under Scottish law in The Hague, Netherlands on charges of planting a suitcase bomb that blew up Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The explosion killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

The trial may not start until February and could last as long as a year.

Hardie, who held a daylong meeting Thursday with victims’ families, said officials are discussing letting relatives watch the trial at special centers in London, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Another possibility is a Web site to help family members keep track of trial developments, he said.

The special accommodations are not finalized, however. The Scottish judges selected to preside over the trial will have ultimate discretion over any broadcasting.

Jim Swire, a spokesman for the families of British victims, said he was pleased efforts are being made to keep the families informed.

``This is going to be a very difficult year for us, but also a year of great progress in our search for the truth,″ he said.

Relatives also are being invited to attend the trial in person.

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