Monday, 19 July 2010

Government must block US interference

[This is the heading over a letter by Tom Minogue published in today's edition of The Scotsman. It reads in part:]

Many of the huge number of online commentators on Eddie Barnes' article (17 July) were incensed by the possibility that Scotland's justice minister might be summoned to Washington to explain his decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

I was dismayed, but not surprised at the stance taken by the US as it is in keeping with the history of the Lockerbie trial.

Back in 2001 the United Nations-appointed independent observer to the trial at the Scots court in [the Netherlands], Professor Hans Koechler, voiced his serious concerns that senior US Justice Department officials were in the body of the court and appeared to be directing the Crown Office prosecution staff. (...)

Scotland has a history of subservient over-eagerness to do our American cousin's bidding - Alex Salmond's fawning over Donald Trump, for example - and if the Yanks were allowed to run the show at the Lockerbie trial, then it shouldn't surprise anyone if they attempt to interfere further in that saga by summoning our justice minister as if they were ordering a taxi.

If our legal system and officials have been tarnished by Lockerbie, then there is one redeeming aspect of the sorry affair and that is the fact that at long last one Scots lawyer, MSP Christine Grahame, has had the courage to point out that the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission (SCCRC) found that there was serious doubt as to the safety of Megrahi's conviction - something that Salmond, McAskill, and Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini have studiously avoided mentioning.

Mrs Grahame is also calling for the US to take part in a full inquiry into all of the circumstances surrounding the Lockerbie trial. Good for her. She typifies the best qualities of our nation: independent and brave; telling it like it is, without fear of our powerful neighbour across the pond, or of her bosses at Holyrood.

I fear that her doubts about Megrahi's trial and conviction, like those of the UN observer and the SCCRC, will not be taken seriously by the powers that be.

[The four readers' letters on the subject published in today's edition of The Herald are also worth reading.]

No comments:

Post a Comment