LIBYA: Defected justice minister claims Kadafi ordered Lockerbie bombing, says Libyan leader's days are numbered
Libya's former Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Jalil, who defected and joined the opposition, made some startling revelations in an interview with a Swedish newspaper in the Libyan city of Beida on Wednesday.
According to Jalil, the embattled Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, an event known as the Lockerbie bombing, in 1988, which killed 270 people when the plane exploded above the community of Lockerbie in Scotland.
"I have information that is one hundred percent sure that Gaddafi is behind the tragedy at Lockerbie," Jalil told the Swedish daily Expressen (link in Swedish). "It is nothing that I think -- it is something that I know and am 100 percent sure about."
Jalil said Kadafi instructed officers from the security services and Abdelbaset Ali Magrahi, the convicted Libyan bomber who was released from prison in Scotland on compassionate grounds in 2009, to bomb the plane.
Aside from ordering the bombing, Kadafi also played a key role in getting Maghrahi back home to Libya two years ago, according to Jalil.
"He did his best to get back the offender for the terrorist attack from Scotland to Libya. Magrahi is one of the few people who has the key to the riddle. The answer to the riddle is that Gaddafi gave the orders," he said.
Jalil, who reportedly first became minister in 2007, had been speaking at a meeting in a local parliamentary building in Bayda when he was interviewed by the Swedish newspaper. As a minister, he says he was given rare access to information about secret detention centers where missing detainees are held.
"There is a small group within the regime that knows it. There are secret prisons located in Tripoli and Benghazi. There sit all those kidnapped and jailed who no one knows anything about. It is people whose relatives think they are dead," he said.
The defected minister also claimed that the Libyan regime has been using mercenaries to keep control on the ground in the country. Reports have surfaced from the Libyan uprising about the Kadafi regime using mercenaries from some African countries to crush the anti-government rebellion.
"I knew that the regime had mercenaries long before the uprising. In several cabinet meetings, the government decided to grant citizenship to people from Chad and Niger. I protested, and it is documented. I demanded that they instead would give citizenship to children whose mothers are from Libya but married to foreign nationals," said Jalil.
Media reports suggest anti-government protesters are gaining more ground by the day and the Libyan leader is said to becoming increasingly isolated. What does Jalil himself think will happen to Kadafi in the end?
His answer is simple.
"Kadafi's days are numbered. He will do what Hitler did -- he will kill himself," he said.
--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut
Photo: A file photo from Dec. 22, 1988, shows police and investigators looking at the remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103 on a field in Lockerbie, Scotland. Credit: Associated Press.