[Today’s edition of The Herald contains a letter from Dr Jim Swire. It reads as follows:]
Over the years I have felt that the man who was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, has become my friend.
Disclosures about what might once have been his private life cannot destroy that friendship. I feel yet more sad now for the dying Baset and his lovely wife Aisha, and for all his children. A new layer of what should rightly be a family's private distress is now made public.
Does this affect the case against him? I think it does. It gives a deeply intimate further motivation for his obtaining a false passport in a false name.
The links between Libya and Malta were so lax in those days that many Libyans travelled between the two at will without even using a normal passport, let alone a false one. Such trips could be undertaken without leaving any paper trail.
It would be interesting to know how it came about that this spicy tale of Megrahi's private life became public so soon after publication of John Ashton's book Megrahi: You Are My [Jury]. Readers may feel that what it reveals would justify spoilers being fed to us by those who wish to continue to support the fatally-flawed prosecution case at all costs.
The prosecution claimed that Megrahi, in Malta, used a bomb with a long-running programmable timer to get his device from Malta to the skies over Lockerbie. In support of this they produced a fragment of timer circuit board purporting to come from a series of timers supplied exclusively to Libya before Lockerbie. The book reveals that the detailed metallurgy of that fragment does not match that of the timer circuit boards of which it was supposed to have once been a part. The difference was known to the prosecution before the trial even started, yet did not emerge in court.
The implications could not be more serious.
The prosecution case was indeed unsupported by reliable evidence.
Someone allegedly chose to manufacture a fragment of circuit board in order to make it look as though the bomb could have started from Malta and included a timer provided by Libya.
The Crown Office, though warned about the fragment by their own forensic team before the trial, failed to share this with the defence.
The questions we need to ask now are:
* Who could have faked the fragment and why?
* Why did the Crown Office withhold vital information from the defence and then introduce unprecedented delays during the second appeal?
Perhaps a full inquiry as petitioned by the Justice for Megrahi group would be the fastest and best route.
Yes, Megrahi was an aspiring entrepreneur with business interests through Malta. Yes, he was a seeker after sanction-busting spare parts for his country. Yes, it now seems he was deceiving his wife as to what he was up to abroad. Does any of that justify what we did to him?
We are supposed to be a Christian country. Christ told us to forgive even our enemies and not to judge others as we are all guilty. Our justice has been deliberately perverted.
Who could have done such a thing? He must have had access to the real circuit board to copy it and considerable technical facilities to make such a clever copy.
I want the people who made that phoney circuit board identified because I cannot forgive them so long as I do not know who they are. I think I have no friends who have led blameless lives. Megrahi will remain my friend.