Monday, 27 February 2012

"...the evidence against him has collapsed and the Crown had all of that..."

[The following are excerpts from an article published today in the UK edition of The Huffington Post:]

Less than 12 hours after [John] Ashton published his book on Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, opposition leaders were calling for a debate in the Scottish parliament based on its revelations and its publication had already been condemned by the prime minister as an "insult".
For Ashton, however, the claim that Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill had indicated to a Libyan delegation Megrahi would be "more likely" to be released on compassionate grounds from prison if he dropped an appeal against his conviction is not the most important revelation in his book, entitled Megrahi: You Are My Jury.

For him, the real scandal is he believes Megrahi is innocent - and he thinks he has the evidence to prove it.
"It's Britain's worst mass murder and the real terrorist has got away with it," he told The Huffington Post UK on Monday.
As for MacAskill's alleged message, which has prompted the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to call for a debate in the Scottish parliament, Ashton says Megrahi was "very clear" that MacAskill was not "making a demand" the appeal should be dropped.
In his book Ashton claims there is new forensic evidence which shows the timing device used in the Lockerbie bomb was not from Libya, alleging evidence withheld by the Scottish crown office. "There's not one element of his case that hangs together," he says. (…)
Speaking of Megrahi now, he claims there was "nothing in his demeanour" which suggested he was responsible for the 1988 terror attack which killed 270 people.
"How many mass murderers if they were let out of prison would spend their final days writing a book about why they were innocent? He can tell his family and they will believe him that he didn't do it but why go the extra mile?" he asks."I only met him in these dire circumstances. He was very dignified in the way he conducted himself, he is a very devout Muslim but not a fundamentalist and he was very much a family man."
The furore about Megrahi's release from prison on compassionate grounds based on his cancer is, he says, "borne of ignorance".
"None of the political parties in Scotland or indeed in England will indeed look at the evidence. They're all playing petty games. The scandal is the evidence against him has collapsed and the Crown had all of that. That's the scandal."
So what does he want? "I want the book to force the Scottish government to call an inquiry," he says. "Everybody should be jumping up and down about this. The book is based primarily on evidence that the police gathered and the crown gathered. It's not things that I am claiming. I was working on the legal team and it was disclosed to us."
The book's publishers Birlinn have said Megrahi will not receive "financial profit" from the book. MD Hugh Andrew said in a statement on Monday: "Any person charged with a criminal offence has the right to defend himself. This is the first time that Abdelaset Al-Megrahi has given that defence. As a publisher we make no judgement as to the rights or wrong of that defence."


  1. At last we know for certain that MacAskill was directly involved in getting the appeal dropped. I do not understand, and never will, why the SNP ever chose to go such a route.

  2. Mr Black, you've pushed this long and hard and at last it's coming into the light.

    Tonight there was a BBC 1 programme between 7.30 and 8.00 pm, followed, somehow damningly, by the same topic coverage by Al-Jazeera between 8.00 and 9.00 pm and I am simply appalled at the BBC version of the Al-Jazeera production.

    Several critical elements in the Al-J article were left unmentioned by the BBC and if there was ever a clearer expose that the BBC could be capable of misrepresenting the actuality, it was writ and broadcast clearly betwixt these two productions.

    Surely, the only way to rest this matter is for the Scottish Government to publish in full the SCCRC report and let the de'il tak the hindmost!

  3. I remain unconvinced that we have reached a "tipping point" yet. The Scottish and British news outlets still see this as a party political issue and will focus on the release rather than the evidence. I am also afraid that it will degenerate into a weapon in the referendum campaign but again it will be "release- right or wrong?" rather than "what really happened at Lockerbie?" which will be the question asked.