Sunday, 5 April 2009
Ten long years
It was on this date in 1999 that Abdelbaset Megrahi and Lamin Fhimah flew from Tripoli to The Netherlands and were then handed over to the Scottish authorities for trial at Camp Zeist. Since that date Megrahi has been in Scottish custody, first as an untried prisoner and, since 31 January 2001, as a convicted prisoner. (Lamin Fhimah was acquitted and returned to Libya on that date.) Megrahi’s appeal was dismissed on 14 March 2002 and since then he has been imprisoned in Scotland (rather than in the prison attached to the Scottish Court at Zeist), first in Barlinnie and later in HMP Greenock. On 28 June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Megrahi’s case back to the High Court of Justiciary on the basis that his conviction might have amounted to a miscarriage of justice. The first substantive session of this second appeal is due to start on 28 April 2009, after what has seemed to many observers, including myself, to be a quite extraordinary campaign of delay and obstruction on the part of the Scottish prosecution authorities and the United Kingdom Government.