[This is the headline over a report on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. The following are excerpts:]
The four United States Senators who called for the postponed hearings into the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi have been challenged to add their names to a petition currently endorsed by an international coalition of signatories into the full circumstances of the Pan Am 103 debacle, after one of them called for a “longer term, multidimensional inquiry” in the affair.
Senator Robert Menéndez, set to chair the original Senate hearings that would have looked at BP‘s links to the release said: “no witness of consequence has the courage to step forward and clear the air. They would prefer to sweep this under the rug."
“Because of this stonewalling, we are shifting our efforts to a longer-term, multidimensional inquiry into the release of al-Megrahi. The hearing will be postponed and rescheduled, and it will be coupled with an investigation into al-Megrahi’s release,” he added.
Today, the Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand, Frank Lautenberg , Robert Menendez and Charles Schumer have been challenged to add their names to a petition submitted to the UN, signed by noteable figures including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Tam Dalyell, by original signatories including Professor Noam Chomksy, Professor Robert Black and Dr Jim Swire and as well as the committee of the Justice for Megrahi campaign.
“On the basis of the evidence laid before their Lordships at Kamp van Zeist, it has always been our contention that Mr Al-Megrahi may have been a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice,” the letter to the US Senators says.
“This view is clearly supported by the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal. This appeal was in progress up to a point immediately prior to Mr Al-Megrahi's release.
“We feel that the current focus on the circumstances surrounding Mr Al-Megrahi's release, whilst engaging in their own right, pale into insignificance if indeed there was a miscarriage of justice.”
Last week First Minister Alex Salmond was pressed by the same coalition to initiate a full public inquiry. Others, such as Dr Hans Kochler and MSP Christine Grahame, as well as newspaper Leaders across the UK, have called separately for a wider analysis of the circumstances surrounding the Pan Am 103 affair and the discredited conviction against Al Megrahi.
“Professor Robert Black, oft referred to as the ‘architect’ of Zeist and Dr Hans Köchler -International Observer at Zeist – appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan- have both variously and very publicly stated views ranging from the verdict’s being a clear miscarriage of justice to one which seemed more concerned with political expediency than justice. If protestations of this calibre alone are not enough to generate an inquiry, one feels obliged to ask: what is?” the letter continues.
“If ever a case were crying out for an inquiry, it is this one. Not only for the bereaved, not only for Mr Al-Megrahi but for justice itself.”