Friday, 20 August 2010

UK Lockerbie families call US senators to Scotland

[This is the headline over a news agency report from The Associated Press. It reads in part:]

Some families of the British victims of the Lockerbie bombing have challenged four US senators to speak to them about their take on the 1988 terror attack.

Although the American relatives of those who died in the attack have largely focused on the controversy surrounding the release of former Libyan agent Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of playing any role in the atrocity, many here in the UK harbor lingering doubts about his guilt — and want the US to know it.

"The senators should not be asking why Mr. al-Megrahi was released, but why he was convicted in the first place," said Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga, 19, was among those who perished in the attack. "This is not about one man, but about the 270 people who died."

Lawyers for al-Megrahi have long argued that the attack was actually the result of an Iranian-financed Palestinian plot, and that authorities in Britain and the United States tampered with evidence, disregarded witness statements and steered investigators toward the conclusion that Libya, not Iran, was to blame.

Libya accepted responsibility and pay compensation for the Lockerbie bombing, the argument goes, as a quick and easy way to shake off its pariah status.

The theory remains a matter of debate in Scotland. Retired Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Henderson, who helped link al-Megrahi to the bombing, recently told Scottish television that the idea that anyone would attempt to frame al-Megrahi was ridiculous. (...)

Mosey said that US officials needed to change their focus.

"Instead of hounding the doctors and Scottish politicians in the case, I would like them to come over to speak to us, the UK families of Flight 103," he said. "We are not in uniform agreement, but I think they need to hear our voices.

"We have not learned the truth about Lockerbie."

Still, it does have some traction and Mosey and others have called for a public inquiry into the case.

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