A Swiss engineer has confessed to lying about a key piece of evidence used to convict a Libyan agent in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, a British newspaper reported Sunday.
Ulrich Lumpert, an employee of the company that manufactured a timer switch authorities said was used to construct the bomb, walked into a Zurich police station last week and asked to swear an affadavit before a notary stating that he lied about the timer that linked Abdulbaset al-Megrahi to the crime, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Megrahi was tried in the Netherlands in 2001 and convicted of the Dec. 21, 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people, many of them American college students. He is serving a life sentence. In June, however, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled in June that there was enough evidence "to suggest a miscarriage of justice," the Guardian reported. Megrahi's case is expected to be heard by the Scottish Court of Appeal this month.
Lumpert's confession backs up assertions his former employer, Edwin Bollier, has reportedly been making since his company's timer switch was first linked to the bombing. Bollier's company is now bankrupt due to the case, and he has been trying to clear its name for two decades.
Bollier told the Guardian that his company, Mebo, did sell 20 timer switches to Libya two years before the Lockerbie bombing, but the type of switch used in the bomb was different from the switches sold. Bollier testified as a witness for the defense in Megrahi's trial. He told the Guardian that when he was shown the timer switch fragments at the trial, they had been tampered with since he was first shown the evidence years earlier.
The United States and Britain believe Libya's leader, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, had the plane bombed in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Tripoli in 1986.