The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 31, 2001

Statement by the Press Secretary

The Scottish Court presiding over the trial of the two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988, has found Abdel Basset al-Megrahi guilty of murder.  The court found conclusively that the defendant caused an explosive device to detonate on board Pan Am flight 103 and murdered the flight's 259 passengers and crew as well as eleven residents of Lockerbie, Scotland.  Al-Megrahi will now face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment under Scottish law.

With respect to Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, the Court concluded that the Crown failed to present sufficient evidence to satisfy the high standard of "proof beyond reasonable doubt" that is necessary in criminal cases.  This does not mean that he is innocent of the crime charged.  This verdict is a victory for an international effort and has resulted in the conviction of a member of the Libyan intelligence services.  The Government of Libya must take responsibility.

The United States and the United Kingdom have made clear to the Government of Libya that the delivery of a verdict against the suspects in the Pan Am 103 trial does not in itself signify an end to UN sanctions against Libya. UN Security Council Resolutions call on Libya to satisfy certain requirements, including compensation to the victims? families and the acceptance of responsibility for this act of terrorism, before UN sanctions will be removed.   The Government of Libya has not yet satisfied these requirements.  The United States and the United Kingdom will consult closely and then approach the Government of Libya in the near future to discuss the remaining steps Libya must take under the UN Resolutions.

We want to express our deepest sympathy to the families of those lost in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.  Nothing can undo the suffering this act of terrorism has caused.  But we hope that this verdict will help reduce the anguish and uncertainty that the family members have endured since December 21, 1988, and that they are able to find some solace in the measure of justice achieved by this decision.

The President congratulates the Scottish prosecution team, thanks the Dutch Government for their assistance and the entire United States Government team who contributed to this outcome.

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