[This is the heading over a letter from Dr Jim Swire in today's edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]
The Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has told students at the London School of Economics that, upon the death of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, his country will sue the British Government for falsely imprisoning him.
How strange that, if true, those who seek the truth over Lockerbie may find the colonel providing the pathway they need to have the legal case against Megrahi reviewed, following the withdrawal of Libya’s appeal.
This unfortunate man was convicted as having been an active member of the Libyan intelligence service. Many now believe the verdict was fatally flawed.
In view of continuing obstruction from those governments of those in the west who still seek the truth, what could be more appropriate than that the Libyan government should now pursue the issue?
How sad that success would only come after Megrahi’s death. But at least it would lift the weight from the shoulders of his wife, Aisha, and the family.
One cannot at present see how the difficulties can be overcome, and if pursued, the timescale may still be lengthy. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that the Libyan state, which seemed to have resolved the post-Lockerbie situation to its satisfaction by gaining the return of its convicted citizen and the resurrection of its oil industry, should now be taking the lead in an action which would, at its centre, require the overturning of the verdict against Megrahi.
All one can add is that while the Colonel Gaddafi is a man whose views may easily change, he does have virtually unlimited financial resources at his disposal, and has made it clear in early September this year that he did wish to see the verdict overturned, claiming it had been reached under improper political pressure.
If such an action were to succeed, it might do more harm to the reputation of the US and UK Governments than all the WikiLeaks documents put together.
The world must hope that justice and truth, not violence and vengeance, win the day.
[The same newspaper has an article on the Gaddafi litigation suggestion. It reads in part:]
The family of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi will lose any compensation claim for his alleged neglect in a Scottish jail, a leading expert said last night.
Professor Robert Black, who helped create the Scottish court in the Netherlands that convicted Megrahi of the Lockerbie bombing, said a claim for neglect or false imprisonment would be a legal “non-starter”.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was yesterday reported to have said Megrahi’s family was set to sue over the terminally-ill former intelligence officer’s treatment in Greenock Prison.
The dictator, who is prone to controversial but cryptic comments, was said to have used a video link to tell students and staff at the London School of Economics Megrahi was “released because he was considered dead, and yet he is still alive”.
Colonel Gaddafi reportedly added: “His health was not looked after during his time in prison. He didn’t have any periodic examination. After he passes away his family will demand compensation because he was deliberately neglected in prison.”
Mr Black – who has backed calls for a public inquiry into the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in 1988 – last night said he could see no legal grounds for an action for damages.
The retired Edinburgh University law professor said: “While the conviction stands, any thought of a successful action for false imprisonment is really, really not a starter.
“The family theoretically could sue in the Scottish courts if the treatment or lack of treatment that he received while in Greenock exacerbated his condition. But that would be very, very difficult.
“They would have to prove that his condition is worse because ot the treatment or lack of treatment in Greenock. I honestly don’t think that would get anywhere.
“Megrahi has lasted a year longer than was anticipated so it would be difficult to prove the lack of treatment he received in Scotland reduced his lifespan.
“Indeed, being back in the bosom of his family may well have given him a boost.” (...)
The Scottish Government yesterday rejected any claim that the Libyan, who had his own “suite” in Greenock Prison, was neglected. A spokesman said: “He was given the same high standard of NHS care as any other prisoner.” The Scottish Prisons Service gave a similar response.
Campaigner Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed at Lockerbie, believes the Libyans’ main priority would be overturning Megrahi’s guilty verdict.
Megrahi himself withdrew his appeal against conviction – which was sparked by an investigation from the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission that found he may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
In a letter in today’s Herald, Dr Swire writes: “While the Colonel is a man whose views may easily change, he does have virtually unlimited financial resources at his disposal, and he made it very clear in early September this year that he did wish to see the verdict overturned, claiming that it had only been reached under improper political pressure.
“If such an action were to succeed it might do more harm to the reputation of the US and UK Governments than all the Wikileaks documents put together.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister last night said any action by the Megrahi family would be a matter for the Scottish Government given that it decided to release the Libyan.
He said: “The Prime Minister’s personal views on Megrahi’s release are well known – he believed it was wrong. That has not changed. But the decision to release Megrahi was a matter for the Scottish Government, as would any legal case concerning his detention.”
[Dr Swire also has a letter published in today's edition of The Scotsman. An article in the same newspaper contains the following:]
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the tragedy, said Col Gadaffi's intervention was "remarkable" after the North African leader appeared "satisfied" following the release of Megrahi.
Mr Swire said that any move for compensation "would at its centre require the overturning of the verdict" against Mr Megrahi.
"While the Colonel is a man whose views may easily change, he does have virtually unlimited financial resources at his disposal," Mr Swire added.
"He made it very clear in early September [when Dr Swire had a meeting with him] that he did wish to see the verdict overturned, claiming that it had only been reached under improper political pressure.
"If such an action were to succeed it might do more harm to the reputation of the US and UK governments than all the Wikileaks documents put together."
The Rev John Mosey, the father of a victim of the bombing, said he could not imagine the Scottish authorities "being deliberately neglectful".
He added: "On a physical level it would seem he was very well catered for - possibly above the average."