A German state prosecutor has confirmed reports that five former Stasi officers have been interviewed in the past nine months in relation to the Lockerbie airliner bombing. A Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset al Megrahi, was found guilty in 2001 of planning the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people in December 1988.
Megrahi died of prostate cancer in Libya in May 2012. The case is closed. So why suddenly start interviewing retired East German intelligence officers years later?
The reason is that although Megrahi was convicted (in a non-jury trial) and unsuccessfully appealed his conviction, some observers have continued to doubt his guilt, including the UN observer at the original trial, Dr Hans Köchler. These doubts became so severe that in June 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) recommended that Megrahi be granted a second appeal against his conviction. Megrahi withdrew his appeal in August 2009 and shortly afterwards was released to return to Libya because of his terminal illness.
In May 2018 the SCCRC announced that it was reviewing the case once more to see if the appeal against conviction should be renewed. It is believed that the interviews are in relation to this review. The Stasi was known to have close links with the Libyan intelligence service at the time of the bombing and Stasi officers are believed to have information about Mohammed Abuagila Masud, a Libyan intelligence officer who is believed by some to have built the bomb. There are also allegations that the Stasi may have provided the Swiss ‘Mebo’ timer that may have detonated the bomb.