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Lockerbie Trial Hearings Adjourned

November 21, 2000

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ Defense lawyers in the Lockerbie trial won a delay Tuesday before presenting their case to wait for a Syrian document they say may clear the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103.

A day after the prosecution finished its arguments, the defense said the Syrian government has a memo saying the bombing was carried out by a Palestinian militant group. However, the document’s reliability has not been verified, lawyers said.

Without the documents, attorney Bill Taylor said, the defense would be ``disabled″ when presenting its case. He said the Syrian government had received the request for the documents on Thursday.

Judges reluctantly agreed to postpone hearings, but did not set an exact date for resumption. They said the delay would be for at least two weeks, except for a one-day session on Nov. 28.

At that session, defense lawyers plan to enter motions that the court drop the case, arguing that charges against the accused have been insufficiently proven.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday after calling about 230 witnesses in 72 days of hearings.

They claim that the defendants, while working as secret agents in Malta, sent a bomb-laden suitcase from the Mediterranean island to London. The suitcase bomb ripped apart the airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Defendants Lamen Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi pleaded innocent to the Dec. 21, 1988 attack that killed 270 people, blaming Palestinian terrorist groups.

The defense has put forward the theory that the operation was conducted by the Damascus-based Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

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