Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Campaigner to challenge conviction of Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi

A campaigner battling to find the “truth” behind the Lockerbie bombing is to challenge the conviction of the only man successfully prosecuted for the atrocity.

Jim Swire photo
Jim Swire

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the attack, says he and several others will formally lodge a challenge to the conviction.

The late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi remains the only man ever convicted of the attack, which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie four days before Christmas 1988.

The Libyan intelligence officer was freed from Greenock prison in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because he had terminal cancer.

Dr Swire has always maintained that Megrahi was innocent of the crime, though he believes the late Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi would have known who was responsible.

In a statement the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) confirmed that Dr Swire and others will ask for the conviction to be reviewed.

Megrahi had tried to overturn the conviction himself, but abandoned that attempt in 2009 amid fears that it stood in the way of his release from jail on compassionate grounds.

Gerard Sinclair, chief executive of the SCCRC, said: “There are several important matters which will clearly affect the timescale within which the commission will be able to deal with a fresh application.

“Even before deciding whether to accept this new application for review, the commission will require to consider a number of preliminary matters relating to the application.

“These include whether Dr Swire has a “legitimate interest” to pursue, on behalf of Mr Megrahi, an application to the commission and any subsequent appeal.

“If it is decided that Dr Swire has a “legitimate interest” the commission will also require to address whether it is “in the interests of justice” to accept for a further review the conviction.”

Because it is a fresh application, SCCRC board would need time to acquaint themselves with the terms of the application and the basis for the previous review and referral, said Mr Sinclair.

In 2012, in the book Megrahi You are My Jury, the Libyan claimed that he was “the innocent victim of dirty politics, a flawed investigation and judicial folly”.

The author John Ashton, a writer, researcher and TV producer, has studied the Lockerbie case for 20 years, and spent three years with Megrahi’s legal team.

At the time, he said: “There is strong evidence that the Lockerbie bombers were not Libyan, that they were commissioned by Iran and based in Germany.”


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