Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed at the behest of Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi in 1988, according to Libya's recently resigned justice minister.
The Lockerbie bombing, as it is known, occurred in 1988 and was one of the worst terrorist bombings of an airline in history, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. The London Heathrow flight was bound for New York when it exploded over Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, killing another 11 people on the ground.
Amid violent clashes between Ghadafi’s security forces and anti-government demonstrators, former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil told Swedish newspaper Expressen that he had proof the embattled leader was behind the bombing.
“I have evidence that Ghadafi ordered the Lockerbie bombing,” he told the newspaper. He did not give any details after that, however.
Abdel-Jalil stepped down as Libyan justice minister after Ghadafi started cracking down on protesters.
He told the newspaper that Ghadafi gave the orders to the man convicted of the attack, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. who was recently allowed to return to his home country after being jailed in Scotland due to his fight with cancer.
Al-Megrahi was recently allowed to return to his home in Libya after serving eight years of a 20-year sentence in Scotland. He was released on compassionate grounds, expecting only to succumb to cancer within months.
Ghadafi “did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland,” Abdel-Jalil told the newspaper.
The revelation comes as more pie on the face of Ghadafi, who is facing the worst political turmoil of his 40-year reign. Reports have surfaced that a number of troops have refused to fire on protesters or bomb the captured city of Benghazi.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council had talks about Ghadafi’s crackdown on protesters after the bulk of Libya's U.N. envoy sent an urgent request to the council to take action.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the crackdown. "Anyone, including [Ghadafi], ordering or carrying out atrocities should know they will be held individually accountable for their actions, including unlawful killings of protesters," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, stated.
The number protesters murdered by the regime is so far unknown. Last Sunday, HRW estimated that more than 270 people had been killed, but given the extreme force used by the regime since then, the real number is expected to be much higher.
On Tuesday, Ghadafi issued a strong statement against protesters in the country, saying they should be executed and called them “drug-taking rats.” He said that he would not go down without a fight and hopes to become a “martyr” during the clashes.