Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Malta urged to petition for Lockerbie case to be reopened

[This is the headline over a report in today’s edition of the Maltese newspaper The Times.  It reads as follows:]

The Maltese government should petition the Crown Office in Edinburgh to reopen the Lockerbie investigation in light of recent findings that “demolished” the current conviction, according to campaigner Jim Swire.

Dr Swire, who lost his daughter in the 1988 bombing, is sure of the innocence of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the Libyan man convicted of the crime.

Released on compassionate grounds in 2009, Mr Megrahi is in Libya, suffering from cancer.

“There is a man dying in Tripoli in terrible pain from his prostate cancer who is going to die still accused of being the Lockerbie bomber, when in fact he had nothing to do with it. And that makes me extremely angry. For 23 years, now, I have been trying to find out who murdered my daughter. It was not him,” Dr Swire told The Times yesterday.

An 820-page report by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission released this week lends significant credibility to Dr Swire’s theory.

But Dr Swire insists there is even more compelling evidence relating to a “fabricated” metal fragment which was initially used to trace the bomb to Libya.

Dr Swire says new research has shown the fragment to be made of a different metal to that used by Libyan circuit boards.

He is sure the fragment was manufactured and planted deliberately as evidence to mislead the Scottish courts.

This, together with the fact that a break-in at Heathrow airport was also concealed from the court, shows a deliberate intention to frame Libya for the crime, he claims.

“There is a desperate need to restart an investigation, trial and inquiry into this case which was deliberately misled by the manufacture of a phony piece of circuit board which could not have come from Libya.”

The only other evidence linking Mr Megrahi to the bombing was the evidence of Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, whose testimony Dr Swire describes as “invalid”, primarily because of claims he was paid dearly as a witness.

Dr Swire is calling on the Scottish government to open an inquiry into the way the verdict against Mr Megrahi was reached since he believes the prosecuting Crown Office was aware of the fabrication of the metal fragment.

He quotes from a book written by John Ashton, an author and researcher for Mr Megrahi’s legal team, which makes these allegations about the “bogus” fragment.

“This completely destroys the case against Megrahi and also removes Malta from being the starting point for the Lockerbie bomb.”

“The Maltese government should know who made a fragment that implicated their island and their flag carrier Air Malta when there was no valid evidence that the Lockerbie bomb set off from your island. There is no such evidence,” he said, stressing, however, that those who manufactured the piece of metal had an interest in keeping things quiet.

Meanwhile, the government has not yet said whether it would seek to reopen the case.

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