EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 23 (UPI) -- The Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 may have been framed, Scotland on Sunday reported.
Documents obtained by the defense and leaked to the newspaper suggest that the U.S. government decided to pin the blame on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi because of the Persian Gulf War. President George H.W. Bush's administration wanted Iran's support for war with Iraq and decided to steer the investigation away from previous suspects, who allegedly had Iranian backing.
The Dec. 21, 1988, crash killed 270 people, including 11 on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland. Megrahi was convicted by a panel of three Scottish judges in January 2001.
The investigation involved the FBI and Scottish police. The defense says the CIA was mainly responsible for framing Megrahi, with crucial assistance in Scotland.
Crucial evidence appeared late in the investigation and some witnesses changed their stories, the defense said. One witness was Tony Gauci -- a shopkeeper in Malta who sold clothes found with bomb parts -- who had initially identified Abu Talb, an Egyptian now in prison in Sweden, as a customer.