[This is the heading over two letters published today in The Daily Telegraph. They read as follows:]
SIR – The survival of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al–Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, beyond the three months he was given to live does not make his prognosis or release from jail suspect (report, Issue 1,087).
Doctors can only assess prognosis on the basis of population data and instinct. For an individual to survive far beyond the prognosis is not surprising, especially when the patient accesses treatments that are deemed too expensive by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or which are not available in Britain.
I can attest to this because I am still alive five years after being diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos, has a median survival of 12 to 14 months.
It may be the drugs or the experimental treatments I have had overseas, or it may be that I am just out on the far right of the survival curve. But the fact that I am alive does not make the initial prognosis wrong.
Dr Andrew D Lawson, Warborough, Oxfordshire
SIR – Huge doubts remain about Megrahi’s conviction. In 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission found prima facie evidence of a miscarriage of justice. English and Scottish prosecution services have a bad record of keeping essential evidence from the defence; this was an especially reprehensible example.
Cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses was so devastating that Megrahi’s subsequent conviction is beyond comprehension. Much of the forensic scientific evidence and the theory that a suitcase bomb entered the system in Malta and rattled around Europe before exploding over Lockerbie are absurd.
Most of the Scottish judiciary believes the fingerprints of Iran and Syria are all over this episode and that the guilty verdict against Megrahi is manifestly unsafe.
Dr John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife