Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Megrahi release and the House of Lords

Two short debates were held yesterday in the House of Lords on matters related to the compassionate release of Abdelbaset Megrahi.

The first arose out of a question asked by Lord Pannick QC: "To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they did not make representations to the Scottish Secretary for Justice on whether Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi should be released from prison on compassionate grounds." The answer and the ensuing interchanges can be read here. One exchange reads as follows:

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: My Lords, I should declare a professional interest as the former co-counsel for Mr al-Megrahi in his unsuccessful application to the European Court of Human Rights. In the interests of justice and for the sake of the Lockerbie families, would the Government now seek to persuade the Scottish Executive to set up a full judicial inquiry into the matters raised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the UN observer, Professor Köchler, about a possible miscarriage of justice and abuses in the investigation, prosecution and trial?

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: My Lords, as yet the British Government have made no decisions on these matters. The Lockerbie investigation took place and the result was that al-Megrahi was imprisoned in Scotland under that legal system. That remains the case and nothing can change in terms of what is possible from the investigation. The Libyans paid substantial compensation to the Lockerbie victims, but we accept that that is no justification.

The second debate arose out of the repetition in the Lords of the statement that had earlier been made in the Commons by the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. The statement and the debate to which it gave rise can be read here. One exchange reads as follows:

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: My Lords, as I mentioned at Questions, I disclose my professional interest in having acted as co-counsel in the claim by Mr Megrahi to the European Court of Human Rights, which got nowhere. Since then I have had no professional interest in the case. However, in the work that I did on it, which lasted several weeks, I went through the whole of the transcripts and read the appellate judgment, and I have to say that I came to the conclusion, entirely objectively and working with Scottish counsel, that there had been a denial of justice and that Mr Megrahi had not been proved to be guilty. When I then read the summary of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission report, which my noble friend referred to just now, and realised that it had come to the same conclusion, I was very disturbed.

I shall deal with a couple of points in addition to those that have been made by my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford. First, will the Government please give an assurance that they will consent to the publication of the whole report? The commission does not have the power to do so itself. If the Scottish Executive or Scottish Parliament ask them to, will the Government consent to the publication of all the report so that we can see what its grounds are for believing that there may have been a miscarriage of justice?

Secondly, I am very concerned about the circumstances in which Megrahi was persuaded to drop his appeal and to go and die in Libya. I saw him in Barlinnie myself. I would like to know, and I would like the Government to find out whether, when he was visited in prison, it was made clear to him that if he dropped his appeal he would be allowed to go and die in Libya, so that there would then be no appeal and the relatives—Dr Swire and the others—would never know the truth. That is very important to them, and they have written to me about it. I would therefore like an assurance that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure put upon him. The Government may not know the answer, but they should find out. Was any pressure put on Megrahi that he would be sent to die in Libya only if he dropped the appeal?

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: On the last point, I am not aware of what the answer might be. We will ask for some advice on whether anyone has been asking those questions and, if so, I will respond to the question that the noble Lord raises.

On the issue of an independent inquiry, I have to keep repeating that is not really for us to say whether that will happen. I am, however, aware that the Scottish Parliament will soon begin an inquiry into the decisions that were taken, and I presume that that would be the best vehicle for any reflection that the Scottish authorities may choose to make on exactly what happened. I am sorry; I have forgotten the other question.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: I was asking whether the Government would consent to the publication of the whole report if the Scottish Parliament or Executive asked them to.

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: Again, that is an issue for the Scottish authorities, but we can ask whether there is a likelihood that the report will be given to those parties who are interested, such as someone, like the noble Lord, who was involved in the commission. It goes back to whether it is necessary to have an independent inquiry. The details of the re-engagement with Libya are there, and we will need to see. The Justice Secretary will appear before the Justice Committee on 20 October, so I think that these issues will become clearer as time goes on.


  1. Europe Minister, Lady Kinnock, was moved to another portfolio on the same day as she had to answer this question from Lord Pannick in the Upper House: "Will the Government please allocate urgently time in this House for a full debate on this matter in the interests of all those who lost their lives in the Lockerbie murders ( http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/91012-0001.htm#0910128000417 ) ?"

    A full debate on the Lockerbie disaster could have proved embarrassing to the government, and especially to Glenys Kinnock because she founded a charity on 21 December 1989 in memory of the most prominent of Lockerbie's 270 victims - UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Action ).

    In September 2009, former Labour MEP Michael McGowan called for an urgent independent inquiry led by the United Nations into the Lockerbie disaster. McGowan wrote that he was personally affected by the crash: "As President of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, I had invited Bernt Carlsson, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, to call in at Brussels in December 1988. He was on his way back to the United States from Namibia and agreed to address members of the Development Committee, which he did. In Brussels, he spoke about his hopes for an independent Namibia and the end of apartheid in South Africa to a packed meeting of MEPs.

    "And afterwards he confirmed his acceptance to visit Leeds the following year to give the 1989 Peace Lecture in honour of Olof Palme, the former Swedish Prime Minister, who was murdered in Stockholm on February 26, 1986. He said how much he was looking forward to coming to Leeds to pay tribute to his fellow Swede with whom he had worked closely as international secretary of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, and also as a special adviser to Palme. Bernt Carlsson did not make that visit to Leeds in 1989. He was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103 and he died when the plane was blown up over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. He was a giant of diplomacy, gentle, quiet, but a tough negotiator. His death, like that of his friend and fellow Swede, Prime Minister Palme, who was murdered in the street in Stockholm returning with his wife from a night at the cinema, was the result of a terrorist act and remains a mystery.

    "A call by the British Government for an independent inquiry led by the United Nations to find out the truth about Pan Am flight 103 is urgently required. We owe it to the families of the victims of Lockerbie and the international community to identify those responsible. That Bernt Carlsson was on that plane should be an extra incentive for the UN to take action in view of the fact that this impressive diplomat was dealing with some of the most sensitive and violent situations being perpetrated by the brutal apartheid regime in both South Africa and Namibia, besides his work in the Middle East. The best tribute to the lives and families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie, including Bernt Carlsson, and the most positive action for the international community to take against terrorism, is to launch an independent inquiry into this gross act of mass murder. Nothing less will suffice ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernt_Carlsson )."

    A petition calling for a UN Inquiry into Bernt Carlsson's murder in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing is open for signature until 28 January 2010 ( http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BerntCarlsson/ ).


    Is the dropping of the successful promising "Lockerbie appeal invalid and must be set back to the status from 19/20 August, 2009?

    Professor Dr. Hans Koechler, UN Observer during "Lockerbie trial" held in Kamp van Zeist points out a servere error, which was not happening for the first time:

    According to Scottish law, it is NOT necessary that a convicted shall withdrawal his demand for reappeal in order to profit from a so called "compassionate release". Such withdrawal would have been necessary only, if Mr Adelbaset Al Megrahi would have been returned to his home country on the basis of the agreement between Libya and Great Britain referring to the mutual transfer of prisoners.

    It lacks of any reason, that Mr Megrahi has abandoned his right, that the reappeal-procedure shall continue also in the case of his sudden death. It is well possible, that Mr Megrahi was not informed/consulted correctly during his stay in prison. There is a vital danger, that this fatal error will deeply influence the jurisdiction in the case in question.

    Professor Dr Koechler explained to me personaly, that it is a generaly accepted principle of right, that such decision is only valid, wehn this desicion has been made in full liberty. Professor Koechler has furthermore immediately after the desicion of withdrawal was made public asked, that all circumstances, which have lead to this desicion must be 100% cleared-including the role, which was "played" by his (Megrahi's) defense-team!

    MEBO states the following: The publication of Mr Megrahi's appeal-documents on his internet-webpage for the sake of clearing his name is a clear indice, that the "dropping" of his appeal was NOT based on his free will:

    Why so? / Possible answers

    1. Mr Megrahi was not protected to absolutely avoid a legally wrong
    decision by the present lawyer Tony Kelly;

    2. Mr Megrahi was possibly set under drugs which resulted in the
    fact, that his medical ability was out of control;

    3. Mr Megrahi was intentionable wrongfully informed about his legal possibilities ;

    4. Mr Megrahi was blackmailed by facts, which have nothing to do
    with the PanAm 103 attack and were clearly aimed do drop the appeal;

    5. It would have been the clear duty of the Lord Advocates at the
    appeal court in Edinburgh, to learn Mr Megrahi, that a dropping
    of the appeal-issue would not influence the 'compassionate

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland


    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said that Britain's interests would be damaged if Mr. Megrahi were to die in a Scottish prison. Mr. Miliband knew exactly that Mr. Megahi was a political hostage and behind the surprising release of the innocent Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, was the FEAR of Scotland's and Great Britain's, before the result and open secrets of the current Appeals (miscarriage of justice) and the following damages compensation from Libya up to 40 billion US$!
    The dropping of the successful promising "Lockerbie appeal" was the central part for the freedom of Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi

    To the memory: The Appeal Court in Edinburgh was reported on (20.2.2008) that the Scottish Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini QC had agreed to open the secret text about the electronic MEBO MST-13 timer in the document under "national security" which relieves Libya and its official Mr Megrahi.

    But the UK Government by Advocate General Lord Davidson QC, blocked the progress and has argued that it is not in the public interest to release the secret document. He claimed: "The national security was at stake"!!!

    Additional: Request of the unknown state which had delivered in September 1996, under national security, a document to the Crown Office, about the clear facts over the MEBO MST-13 Timer fragment (Polaroidphoto picture, Scottish Police no. PT/35B).
    Please give to the Crown and to the secretary of justice Mr. McAskill the granted permission for opening the document under national security!

    More Information on our website: www.lockerbie.ch

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland

  4. In my view, the most important contribution to this House of Lords debate on 12 October 2009 was:

    Lord Steel of Aikwood: My Lords, I preface my question with a word of congratulation to the Minister on her appointment as our new Minister for Africa, a subject in which she and I have a long-standing interest.

    It is some years since I went to Libya with Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed in the Lockerbie tragedy, to try to help to persuade the Libyans to agree to a trial in a third country. Since that happened, I have had no involvement in the case at all. However, four things concern me, which have all been referred to already, but which I shall repeat.

    First, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has expressed grave reservations about the authenticity of the original verdict, and we have not yet seen its full report. That is a matter over which great uncertainty still hangs. Secondly, the United Nations legal observer at the trial has been scathing about the quality of the evidence on which Mr Megrahi was convicted. That must be a matter of concern. Thirdly, the Government have placed public interest immunity certificates on some of the papers, which prevents the defence seeing what evidence they had that has not been made public. Fourthly, Mr Megrahi withdrew his appeal, so we have not been able to get at the truth. Surely, there is an unanswerable case for a full, independent judicial inquiry, and the victims of the Lockerbie disaster deserve nothing less.

    Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: I thank the noble Lord. I very much value his experience in connection with these matters. As the Secretary of State mentioned in his Statement, the terrible tragedy of Lockerbie is something that many of us in this House remember very well. The reality is that the Libyans continue to maintain that they consider the matter to be closed. Although the British Government do everything that they can, still, as I am sure do the Scottish authorities, it is proving very difficult to persuade the Libyans that the matter can be opened. This must be an issue for the Scottish justice system to deal with. The issues that the noble Lord raises are extremely worrying and throw the spotlight on some aspects of the trial that we should be concerned about, but I very much hope that the Scottish Parliament and others will take up these matters and ensure that the issues that noble Lords have raised will be understood to have been taken very seriously by your Lordships. Perhaps we will see some responses soon on the matters raised with me.

    There was then a rather silly and ill-informed comment by Lord Boyd of Duncansby to which Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead responded: I thank my noble friend. I will certainly pursue the issue that he raised, particularly in relation to the importance that we attach to having contact and engagement with the American relatives.

    From these exchanges on Parliament's first day after the Summer Recess, it is abundantly clear that there will be no substantive inquiry into the Lockerbie disaster - unless it is conducted by the United Nations.

    Hence the importance of signing the petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for a UN Inquiry. It is open for signature until 28 January 2010 ( http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BerntCarlsson/ ).


    The LOCKERBIE-CASE is the Biggest Fraud in the History of Scotland!
    Do not forget please, MEBO Ltd, VR Edwin Bollier takes over the full warranty (100%) for the following truth:
    The indications main proof, of the MST 13 timer fragment (PT-35) was/is a manipulated circuit board "concoct" from an unfuctional Prototype Timer, with a in-scratched letter "M" on it.

    The crucial evidence for the indictement of Mr Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and indirectly Libya, the MST-13 timer fragment (PT-35) planted allegedly in Lockerbie, originates from Eng. Lumpert's handmade prototype MST-13 timer printed circuit board (PC-board) given via the Swiss police, without Bollier's knowing, to the Scottish police. This handmade brown coloured prototype timer circuit board with a in-scratched letter "M" on it was not operable! (Kamp van Zeist prod. photo (RARDE) PI/995, PP'8932)

    Important: Some of the Scottish Officials are the true criminals in the Lockerbie Affair: Ex forensic scientist Dr Thomas Hayes (RARDE) UK, Ex forensic expert Allen Feraday (RARDE) UK and three known persons of the Scottish police are responsible for manipulating evidence in the Lockerbie Affair and are still protected by the Scottish Justice ! (They are not involved in the PanAm 103 bombing, but responsible for the conspiracy against Libya).
    In the documentary film "Lockerbie revisited", FBI Task Force Chief Richard Marquise answered Gideon Levy's question:

    G. L.: Would you have a case if you wouldn't have these evidence (MST-13 timer)? R.M.: Would we have a case. It would be a very dificult case to prove. It would be a very dificult case to prove ... I don't think we would ever had an indictment. And he said also: But I can tell you that now money was paid to any witness, any witness prior to the trial. No promise of money was made to any witness prior to the trial. G.L.: And was there paid any money after he trial? R.M.: I'm not gonna answer that.
    And he said: If someone manipulated evidence, if somebody didn't invesitgate something that should have been investigated, if somebody twisted it to fit up up Megrahi, or Fimah or Libya, then that person will go to jail. I mean that sincerely, that person should be prosecuted for that.
    A UN investigation is overdue !

    see film and photomaterial on our website: www.lockerbie.ch

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland

  6. I am baffled as to what the object of Mr Haseldine's petition is. Did Mr Haseldine not claim that Colonel Gaddafi had already instructed Mr Treki to conduct such an investigation?

  7. Maybe Mr. Haseldine could explain?

  8. Dear Adam and baz / porkylinda,

    I hope the following will serve as an explanation:

    Colonel Gaddafi addressed the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2009. In his brief, low-key speech, Gaddafi asked the Libyan president of UNGA, Dr Ali Treki, to undertake a series of UN investigations into eg the assassinations of Congolese Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, and UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, in 1961 and of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

    In what was probably an oversight on his part, Gaddafi failed to ask Dr Treki to investigate the assassination of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

    However, this failure does not necessarily entail any lack of interest by Libya in sponsoring such a UN inquiry. Indeed, if Libya itself does not table a motion at the General Assembly to that effect, it is believed there are a number of other UN Member States which are ready and willing to do so.

    Thus, the object of my petition to the Prime Minister is absolutely clear: that is, for the PM to endorse calls for a United Nations Inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

    British citizens, who presumably include baz / porkylinda, can sign up at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BerntCarlsson/ until the 28 January 2010 closing date.

    I guess that Adam will just have to organise his own separate petition to the German Chancellor!