Libya will not hand over two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing for trial in a former U.S. air base in the Netherlands because it fears they may be kidnapped by the United States, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said.
"America is able, in case the trial is held in an American base, to kidnap the suspects and take them to America," the Libyan leader said Wednesday night. His comments were carried Thursday on Egypt's Middle East News Agency.The Dutch and British governments signed an agreement Sept. 18 to use Camp Zeist, 20 miles southeast of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, for the proposed trial of the two Libyans. It was part of a U.S. Air Force base from 1954 to 1993, but it is now part of a Dutch air base.
Libya has accepted a compromise proposal by the U.S. and British governments to try the suspects in the Netherlands by Scottish judges under Scottish law. But it has demanded assurances for the safety and handling of the two men.
Britain and the United States have rejected the Libyan demands.
A Libyan team is expected at U.N. headquarters this week to work with the organization's top legal officer on clarifying questions about the trial of the two Libyans.
The U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions that ban direct flights to and from Libya in 1992 to try to force Gadhafi to surrender the two Libyans. They are wanted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.
Also Wednesday, Gadhafi presented 11 African leaders with medals of honor in appreciation for violating the U.N. air embargo against Libya, MENA said.