Thursday, 3 January 2013

Lockerbie: Case for a full public inquiry intensifies

[This is the headline over the first leader in today’s edition of The Herald.  It reads as follows:]

The new Libyan Government's pledge to release documents relating to the Lockerbie bombing is a welcome step towards shining new light on exactly what led to the death of 270 people on December 21, 1988.

Despite the declaration by the Libyan ambassador to the UK Mahmud Nacua that all files would be open and everyone would know what happened with that crime, it is not clear how much information pertaining to the Gaddafi regime remains. Mr Nacua said it would be at least a year before Libya would be in a position to release whatever information it holds. This is frustrating for all those affected, especially for the families of those who died. But having heard so much conflicting evidence and suggestions for so long, the priority must now be truth rather than speed.

Willie Rennie, the Liberal Democrat leader at Holyrood, believes the prospect of new material increases the need for a public inquiry. This newspaper, which has revealed many significant developments in the Lockerbie case over a number of years, has consistently called for a public inquiry.

However, the change of regime in Libya presents an opportunity for further investigation. The Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, who has made contact with the new regime, is hopeful of being able to send Scottish police officials to Tripoli to gather evidence that would reopen the wider plot to bring down PanAm 103. In particular, the extradition to Libya of Abdullah al-Senussi, the infamous head of Gaddafi's intelligence service at the time of the Lockerbie bombing, offers the prospect of obtaining previously unknown information.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi remains the only person convicted of the atrocity. Twenty-four years after the bombing, there remain so many unanswered questions and so many doubts about his conviction that his death in May last year, after being released from jail in Scotland on compassionate grounds, cannot be the end of the matter.

Although his first appeal was unanimously rejected, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) subsequently found a number of grounds which justified the case being referred back to the Court of Criminal Appeal. However, in 2009 the appeal process was abandoned and Megrahi was released from prison due to a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Dropping the appeal was not a requirement for compassionate release but details of the SCCRC report revealed by The Herald last year intensified suspicion that he may have been urged to do so. What is not in dispute is that he could not have acted entirely alone. A new criminal investigation, assuming the co-operation of the authorities in Tripoli, will be essential to discover whether the operation was wider than Libya.

Grave disquiet about the handling of the Megrahi case continues. The concerns that Britain's worst-ever terrorist atrocity may additionally have become Scotland's greatest ever miscarriage of justice are now so deep-seated that a full public inquiry is required to establish the truth and restore faith in the justice system.


  1. Once again, I express my gratitude that you continue to press for the truth to be revealed. I hope that 2013 will be the year when we can finally reach full disclosure of the facts surrounding an awful event which took place a whole generation ago. In the subsequent years the unsatisfactory handling of the case has grown into a full-blown, national scandal.

    In the year to come, many people will need to draw upon great moral courage and display dogged perseverance in order to rectify the colossal damage that has been done to the reputation and standing of the Scottish legal system. It's heartening to know that such people definitely exist.


  2. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2013 (google translation, german/english):

    If 'NTC of New Libya' would have real documentation with new evidences in the "Lockerbie case', then the NTC officials would hand over for further investigation, at least first, some parts of documents to the USA and Scottish investigation authorities - not only promises- promises- promises... bukra- bade- bukra- next year- may be...???
    Probably someone is very pleased with the superficial "Lari-Fari Promises": The Scottish Justiciary ?

    Do not forget !:
    Libya had also expressed its commitment to cooperate with any further requests for information in connection with the investigation. All those were substantial gains, which could allow Libya to move back into the international community and bring the Council closer to lifting the sanctions.

    Hätte 'NTC New-Libya' reale Unterlagen für neue Aufklärungen im "Lockerbie-Fall" hätten die NTC-Offiziellen, mindestens a conto Teile von Dokumenten den USA und Scottish Untersuchungsbehörden für weitere Untersuchungen ausgehändigt - nicht nur a conto Versprechen - Versprechen - Versprechen ... bukra- bade-bukra- nächstes Jahr- eventuell...???
    Vermutlich jemand kann sich an dem oberflächlichen "Lari-Fahri Zustand" erfreuen: die Scottish Justiciary ?

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  3. British and Scottish Governments have ruled out holding a public enquiry at the behest of American Governments.

    Therefore who has an interest and more importantly the means to launch a public enquiry?

    The victims’ families and JfM have an interest, but not the means.

    Whereas Libya had the means but not necessarily the interest because they wanted the matter settled and sanctions lifted.

    However wary of the progress of JfM the State decided to eliminate the prospect of Libya funding a public enquiry via the UN assembly, by eliminating Gaddafi!

    Except following the destruction of Libya it is not certain the new rulers will be as obliging on this issue as once hoped.