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Libya Warns on Lockerbie Suspects

December 10, 1998

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) _ Libya’s justice minister said Wednesday that the two suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, should not become victims of Western politics.

``We want to be sure that the only aim of the trial is to show the truth ... and that it is held without a political or security background,″ Mohammed Belgasim al-Zuwiy said.

Al-Zuwiy was addressing the General People’s Congress, or parliament, which opened a debate that will decide the fate of the two men who are wanted in connection with the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing. The explosion killed 270 people on board and on the ground.

Libya has accepted in principle the plan for a trial before a panel of Scottish judges in the Netherlands. But the handover of the suspects has been held up over Libya’s demand for a guarantee that the two men, if convicted, will be jailed in Libya.

The United States and Britain insist that the two suspects serve their prison term in Britain.

``Our argument is that since this is an exceptional trial, therefore this exception should include serving the jail term in Libya, maybe under U.N. supervision,″ al-Zuwiy said.

The Parliament meeting, expected to last five days, was being held in the northern coastal town of Sirte and was broadcast live on national television.

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