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Mohammed Abu Talb, the Palestinian militant implicated in the Pan Am 103 atrocity, is understood to have been freed from jail in Sweden where he had been serving a life term.
The Firm understands Talb was quietly released in early September, only weeks after Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was released from jail in Scotland and returned to Libya.
Talb was named by Megrahi and co-accused Fhimah in their special defence of incrimination during their trial, although no charges were ever brought against him.
In April a Swedish court overturned Talb's life sentence and reinstated a fixed tariff of 30 years, scehduled to expire in 2011 under their convention that only two thirds of the full sentence are actually served. Talb was found guilty of bombing a synagogue and the office of an American-based airline in Denmark in 1985. He was also found guilty of involvement in another airline bombing in the Netherlands.
The Swedish court based their decision on evidence submitted by police and psychiatrists indicating that Abu Talb was unlikely to commit crimes or participate in terrorist activity in the future.
In 2004 Fhimah's solicitor Eddie Mackechnie told The Firm that the accused had little opportunity to exercise their special defence, and that the Crown Office treatment of Talb placed them at a disadvantage.
"The Crown had the Dept of Justice of the USA at their beck and call, and all the weight of the UK and the USA diplomatically. For example, Mohammad Abu Talb, a notable incriminee in this case, declined even to see anyone from the defence at any stage. Yet, Abu Talb travels by special plane, armed guards, the lot, and gives his evidence over a number of days. Interesting," Mackechnie said.
"He also provided evidence and gave a number of statements at great length to Crown representatives. So a clear disadvantage was in operation. Perhaps inevitably, I think the job was actually impossible.”
Professor Robert Black says Talb could be prosecuted under Scots law, having gained no immunity when named as an incriminee.
"A Crown witness gains immunity from prosecution only if he is called as an accomplice to give evidence against those involved with him in the crime charged. Talb was not called by the Crown in this capacity," Black says.
"He had been named by the two Libyan accused as the person who, acting for a Palestinian group, was really responsible for the destruction of Pan Am 103. The Crown called him to obtain a denial of this. He was not called as an accomplice of the Libyans."