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TRYING PAN AM DEFENDANTS ABROAD IS FAVORED BY SOME

Reversing a long-held position, some American relatives of Pan Am Flight 103 victims are now willing to have two Libyans accused of bombing the jetliner tried in the Netherlands or another neutral country.

The move is aimed at forcing Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to act on his pledge to turn over the pair for trial anywhere outside the United States, where he insists they could not receive a fair trial.

"We're calling Gadhafi's bluff," said Bert Ammerman, a school principal in River Vale, N.J., who was an early and vocal advocate for victims of the Dec. 21, 1988, crash over Lockerbie, Scotland. A bomb exploded in the jet's cargo hold, killing 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

"We're also asking the president to show some backbone, to bring this matter to a resolution" by agreeing to the trial in a neutral country, Ammerman said.

But Susan Cohen, of Cape May Courthouse, N.J., sharply disputed his claim that an international trial has broad support among American relatives. "I am outraged," she said. "For anyone to suggest that we're calling Gadhafi's bluff by giving him what he wants is totally outrageous -- it's doing his work for him." said Cohen, who lost her son, Theodore, 20.

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