Libyans To Be Tried in Jet Bombing
PARIS (AP) _ Six Libyans, including a brother-in-law of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, are to be tried in absentia for the 1989 bombing of a French passenger plane that left 170 people dead, judicial sources said today.
With Libya long refusing to hand over those charged in the bombing, French justice officials apparently believed they had no other choice but to go ahead with the proceedings.
Evidence gathered by anti-terrorism Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, who traveled to Libya during his eight-year investigation, pointed to a plot involving the six to bring down the UTA DC-10.
No trial date has been set, the sources said on customary condition of anonymity.
The aircraft, en route from Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, to Paris, exploded over the Niger desert Sept. 19, 1989, killing all aboard.
Investigators concluded that a suitcase loaded with explosives blew up in the baggage compartment.
Bruguiere completed his investigation in January and asked that the six be tried in absentia. That request was accepted today by the court responsible for sending criminal suspects to trial.
Gadhafi’s brother-in-law, Abdallah Senoussi, is one of the six suspects. Among the others are Abdallah Elazragh, a diplomat posted in Brazzaville believed to have given the booby-trapped suitcase to a passenger, and Ibrahim Naeli and Mustapha Arbas, suspected Libyan secret service agents.
The United Nations banned flights from Libya in 1992 after Ghadafi refused to hand over the suspects in the UTA attack and in the Pan Am bombing a year earlier that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, Scotland.