South Scotland

Libya: 'Sick' Moussa Koussa has 'no Lockerbie secrets'

Media captionSaif Gaddafi told the BBC's John Simpson that he knew Moussa Koussa was travelling to London "for medical treatment"

Libya's former foreign minister is a "sick and old" man who has no secrets about the Lockerbie bombing, Colonel Gaddafi's son has told the BBC.

In an interview with John Simpson, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said Moussa Koussa left Libya to ensure he could continue treatment at a private London hospital.

Prosecutors investigating the Lockerbie bombing said they were hoping to meet Mr Koussa "in the next few days".

They believe he has information on the murders of 270 people killed in 1988.

Mr Koussa is believed to have been a senior figure in the Libyan intelligence service when Pan Am flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie.

Colonel Gaddafi's son denied Mr Koussa had defected, but had gained permission from Col Gaddafi to travel to London.

"Others they defect, of course," he said. "They are sick people, old and sick people and we had been bombed for two weeks."

No secrets

Mr Gaddafi also denied the former foreign minister could reveal anything about the Lockerbie bombing or the Gaddafi administration.

He said: "The British and the Americans they know about Lockerbie. There are no secrets anymore.

"We have no secrets to the world."

However, he said he imagined Mr Koussa would invent "funny stories" in order to get immunity because he was "sick and old".

Representatives of Scotland's Crown Office and detectives from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary met Foreign Office officials in London on Monday.

They requested access to the Libyan, who arrived in the UK on Wednesday.

A statement from the Crown Office said the meeting was "very positive".

A Crown Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that representatives of the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary met with Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials this afternoon to discuss the situation concerning Mr Moussa Koussa and specifically to discuss access to Mr Moussa Koussa.

"It was a very positive meeting and steps are being taken with a view to arranging a meeting with Mr Moussa Koussa at the earliest opportunity in the next few days."

Lockerbie investigation

Earlier the foreign secretary William Hague said the government would encourage Mr Koussa to co-operate with investigators.

Mr Hague told the House of Commons Moussa Koussa was not being offered immunity after his defection from the Gaddafi regime last week.

In a statement, he said Moussa Koussa was not being detained by UK authorities.

Mr Koussa has been giving information to British officials about the current Libyan situation after saying he was no longer prepared to represent the Libyan regime.

Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, has insisted that he and his father do not feel betrayed by Mr Koussa's defection.

He told the BBC that Libya's former foreign minister had gone to the UK for health reasons because he was an old and sick man and he needed treatment.

In the 1980s Mr Koussa was a leading member of the Libyan Bureau for External Security (the Mathaba) which has been linked to the Lockerbie bombing.

Media captionThe Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, says the file on the Lockerbie bombing is still open

Libyan Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi remains the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show Scotland, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he hoped Mr Koussa might provide the Crown and police with new leads for the Lockerbie bombing investigation.

"Obviously everybody accepts that this tragedy that happened was not carried out by one man alone - there has been a live file and ongoing investigation," he said.

"What this will lead to, I don't know, but I think everybody accepts that the Crown and police investigation in Scotland has been thorough, diligent and carried out fairly and appropriately.

"So I hope it will provide some greater leads. But that is a matter for the appropriate bodies and that's the prosecutors."

Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the questions for Mr Koussa should include the subject of the 1984 killing of Pc Yvonne Fletcher during a protest outside London's Libyan Embassy, as well as those around Lockerbie.