[A letter from Iain A D Mann in today's edition of The Herald contains the following paragraph:]
On Tuesday, Dr Jim Swire’s strongly-supported appeal to the Public Petitions Committee for an independent inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing was casually kicked into the long grass, with the bare statement that “the Scottish Government has no doubt about the safety of Megrahi’s conviction”. The genuine concerns of about 75% of the Scottish people, the report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the doubts of many legal experts worldwide were brushed aside with contempt.
[It is, of course, disappointing that the immediate reaction of the Scottish Government to Tuesday's hearing should have been to parrot the usual tired pretexts for not instituting an independent inquiry. But the outcome of the hearing was that a letter should be written to the Scottish Government asking them to explain in detail their reasons for refusing to set up an inquiry, with chapter and verse cited for the legal objections that they have referred to in the past.
The questions that the Public Petitions Committee has addressed to the Scottish Government are:
• Will you open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988 as called for by the petitioner and for the reasons given in the petition?
• If not, will you provide a detailed explanation why not, specifying whether there is any legislation which would prevent you from holding such an inquiry, what this legislation is and how it prevents?
• Who would have the power to undertake an inquiry in the terms proposed in the petition?
The ball may have been kicked into the long grass. It is not going to be allowed to languish there.]