Gadhafi ordered Lockerbie bombing: ex-minister

Libya's ex-justice minister claims Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988, Swedish tabloid Expressen is reporting.
Investigators look at what remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103 on a field in Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. A total of 270 people died when a bomb exploded on the airplane. (Associated Press)

Libya's ex-justice minister claims Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the airplane bombing that killed 270 people over Scotland in 1988, Swedish tabloid Expressen is reporting.

Expressen on Wednesday quoted Mustafa Abdel-Jalil as telling their correspondent in Libya: "I have proof that Gadhafi gave the order about Lockerbie." He didn't describe the proof.

Abdel-Jalil stepped down as justice minister to protest the violence against anti-government demonstrations.

He told Expressen Gadhafi gave the order to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

"To hide it, he [Gadhafi] did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland," Abdel-Jalil was quoted as saying.

Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. He is still alive.

Expressen spokeswoman Alexandra Forslund said its reporter, Kassem Hamade, interviewed the ex-justice minister at "a local parliament in a large city in Libya." She didn't want to name the city, citing security concerns.