Monday, 24 September 2012

Calls for justice for Lockerbie victims

[This is the headline over a report published in yesterday’s edition of the Sunday Mail. It does not appear to feature on the newspaper’s website, but can be read here.  It picks up the item posted on this blog on 20 September. The somewhat longer version submitted by journalist Bob Smyth reads as follows:]

An American politician says not enough has been done to investigate the Lockerbie bombing – so she’s bidding for new laws to tackle her concerns.

US Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle has announced she will introduce two pieces of legislation regarding the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing in 1988.

They will demand a further investigation into the crime and "just compensation" for the families of the victims.

“Sadly, all these years later, the families of American victims are still awaiting justice,” she said.

“Until now, there has yet to be a complete investigation of those implicated in the crimes."

However, Scottish prosecutors responded last night by stressing that their investigation into the crime is ongoing.

The congresswoman added: “The families of the victims continue to hope for proper compensation for the crimes they have endured, as only some have received compensation.”

The Republican member for New York has worked closely with Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie and its president, Paul Hudson, on the legislation for several months.

The organisation is based at New York’s Syracuse University, which lost 35 students in the bombing over Lockerbie, which killed 270 people.

With Libya in the news for crimes against Americans, now is a good time to remember those who suffered under the Gaddafi regime, as well as the victims of the bombings, Buerkle said.

She added: “It is very little to ask that those who were responsible for the attack be brought to justice and that the families of the victims receive fair compensation.”

She has not revealed any more detail of the bills, which will be scrutinised by a committee of Congress to decide whether they should be allowed to proceed further.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person ever convicted over the bombing, died in Tripoli in May. He served eight years in prison, but was released in August 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

Following Megrahi’s death, Buerkle said: “I hope that his death will provide some level of closure for the families of the victims. However, the fight for justice will continue.”

Scottish prosecutors are currently making further investigations into Libya’s involvement in the tragedy. Earlier this week it was reported that authorities in Malta have held court hearings to take fresh evidence over Lockerbie.

Last night a Crown Office spokesman said: “The trial court accepted that Megrahi acted in furtherance of the Libyan intelligence services in an act of state-sponsored terrorism and did not act alone.

“Police are actively working with US law enforcement in pursuit of lines of enquiry to bring to justice the others involved in the Lockerbie bombing.

“The victims’ families are kept informed of any action or developments with the investigation wherever possible while preserving the integrity of the investigation.”

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