Lockerbie families offered $2,7bn

The Libyan government has promised to pay $10-million compensation to each of the 270 families bereaved in the Lockerbie bombing, a law firm representing many of the relatives revealed this week.

The offer, which totals $2,7-billion, still has to be approved by the families and Libya’s announcement that it would link the pay-out to the lifting of both United Nations and United States sanctions against it made further diplomatic wrangles a certainty.

“It is the first time that any of the states designated as sponsors of terrorism have offered compensation to families of terror victims”, Jim Kreindler, a lawyer for the victims’ families, said.

A letter sent to relatives from Kreindler’s New York law firm read: “We are pleased to inform you that after 10 months of difficult and intricate negotiations in New York, London and Paris we have finally obtained a settlement offer from Libya that we recommend to you.”

Libya’s deal, if accepted, would settle a lawsuit brought in 1996 by 118 American relatives that has been conducted in secret and without US government involvement. American legal rules prevent the British relatives from participating in such lawsuits, although the offer encompasses them too.

The explosion of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 killed 259 passengers and crew members, 181 of whom were American, as well as 11 residents of the Scottish village. Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was convicted of the crime last year by a Scottish court sitting in The Netherlands. He was sentenced to life in prison.

A satisfactory compensation offer is one of the conditions that the UN has demanded that Libya meet before it lifts international sanctions against the country. But a senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Libya would also tie the release of funds to the lifting of separate sanctions imposed by the US.

The official said the Bush administration would not consider itself bound by any such deal and Congress would reject it. The US would not commit to removing its own sanctions, he said, unless Libya complied fully with the UN Security Council’s demands, which include admitting responsibility for the crime, revealing all it knows about it and renouncing future terrorism.

The Libyan government, which described the deal as “preliminary”, will meet senior US officials and British Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw in London on June 6 to finalise an agreement.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday