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article imageNo immunity for Kusa, Scotland requests interview over Lockerbie

By Gemma Fox     Mar 31, 2011 in World
The UK Foreign Secretary confirms that defected Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa will not receive immunity from British or international justice.
Musa Kusa arrived unexpectedly in the UK yesterday announcing that he had resigned from his post of Foreign Minister in the Libyan government and had defected. Since then he has been in talks with British officials.
Speaking today at the launch of the 2010 Human Rights and Democracy Report, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed Mr Kusa's arrival and spoke of how the Libyan government was crumbling from inside. He also made clear that Mr Kusa would not receive immunity from justice.
In his statement Mr Hague said:
His resignation shows that Qadhafi’s regime, which has already seen significant defections to the opposition, is fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within. Qadhafi must be asking himself who will be the next to abandon him.
We reiterate our call for Qadhafi to go. Musa Kusa is not being offered any immunity from British or international justice.
He also encouraged those surrounding Gaddafi in Libya to abandon him and to move Libya forward to meet the wishes of the Libyan people.
Following the announcement that Musa Kusa would not receive immunity from British or international justice it emerged that Scottish prosecutors had informed the Foreign Office of their intention to speak to him regarding the Lockerbie bombing in in 1988.
In a statement from a spokesperson at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service they said:
We have notified the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that the Scottish prosecuting and investigating authorities wish to interview Mr Koussa in connection with the Lockerbie bombing. The investigation into the Lockerbie bombing remains open and we will pursue all relevant lines of inquiry.
There are some claims that Musa Kusa, who was a senior intelligence agent for Libya at the time, was involved in the planning of the bombing which took place on Wednesday December 21 1988. On that date Pan Am Flight 103, on its way to New York, blew up in the skies over the Scottish town of Lockerbie resulting in the destruction of the plane and the death of 270 people, 11 of them on the ground.
Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and current First Minister of Scotland, said, "Musa Kusa's defection is a very welcome development, and a clear sign that the Gaddafi regime is decaying from within.
"The Crown Office have confirmed to the UK Government that the prosecuting and investigating authorities in Scotland wish to interview Mr Kusa and pursue all relevant lines of inquiry, which is an extremely positive step forward. Mr Kusa may well have important information to reveal which can assist what has always remained a live investigation."
Prime Minister David Cameron today also called for other members of Gaddafi's regime to abandon him and backed up the Foreign Secretary by reiterating that Mr Kusa would not be able to exchange information for immunity.
He said, "Let me be clear: Musa Kusa is not being granted immunity. There is no deal of that kind. And the point I would make about the dreadful events over Lockerbie - that investigation is still open and the police and the prosecuting authorities are entirely independent of Government and they should follow their evidence wherever it leads and the Government will assist them in any way possible."
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Fiona died in the Lockerbie bombing said of Musa Kusa, "If Libya was involved in Lockerbie, he can tell us how they carried out the atrocity and why."
Meanwhile the Libyan government continue to deny he has defected and now say that Mr Kusa requested some sick leave and wanted to travel to Tunisia for medical treatment but that they had been expecting him to return to Libya afterwards.
More about musa kusa, moussa koussa, Libya, Lockerbie, Scotland
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