[The following is an excerpt from an item published on this blog on this date seven years ago:]
Ulrich Lumpert, an engineer at one time employed by MEBO in Zurich, gave evidence at the Lockerbie trial that a fragment of circuit board allegedly found amongst the aircraft debris (and which was absolutely crucial to the prosecution contention that the bomb which destroyed Pan Am 103 was linked to Libya) was part of an operative MST-13 timer manufactured by MEBO. In an affidavit sworn in Switzerland in July 2007 (available on the website www.lockerbie.ch) Lumpert now states that the fragment produced in court was in fact part of a non-operational demonstration circuit board that he himself had removed from the premises of MEBO and had handed over to a Lockerbie investigator on 22 June 1989 (six months AFTER the destruction of Pan Am 103).
If this is true, then it totally demolishes the prosecution version of how the aircraft was destroyed, as well, of course, as demonstrating deliberate fabrication of evidence laid before the court.
At the forthcoming appeal resulting from the SCCRC’s report on the Megrahi conviction, will the appeal court have an opportunity to assess the truth of Lumpert’s revised version of events? The hurdles are formidable. Section 106 (3C) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 provides that an appeal may not be founded upon evidence from a witness at the original trial which is different from, or additional to, the evidence that he gave at that trial, unless there is a reasonable explanation as to why the new evidence was not given by him at the original trial and that explanation is itself supported by independent evidence. In this context “independent evidence” means evidence which was not heard at the original trial; which comes from a source other than the witness himself; and which is accepted by the appeal court as credible and reliable. It might well be extremely difficult to convince a court that these conditions were satisfied in Lumpert’s case.
What follows is the text of a press release regarding Lumpert’s affidavit from Professor Hans Koechler, who was one of the official UN-appointed observers at the Lockerbie trial:
I.P.O. Information Service
Lockerbie case: new accusations of manipulation of key forensic evidence
Statement of Dr. Hans Koechler, international observer appointed by the United Nations at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands (2000-2002), on a key witness’s admission of perjury in the Lockerbie Trial
Vienna, Austria, 28 August 2007 P/RE/20559c-is
On 4 August 2007 Dr Hans Koechler received from Mr Edwin Bollier, head of the Swiss-based company MEBO AG, a copy of the German original of an Affidavit, dated 18 July 2007 and signed by Mr Ulrich Lumpert, former employee (electronics engineer) of MEBO AG, Zurich, related to the Lockerbie case. In a statement released today, Dr Hans Koechler, who has followed the Lockerbie proceedings since the beginning of the trial in the Netherlands in May 2000, highlighted basic aspects and questions of this new revelation that appear to be of relevance not only in connection with the upcoming second appeal of the convicted Libyan national, but also for new prosecutorial action ex officio by the Scottish authorities.
In his affidavit Mr Lumpert implicitly admits having committed perjury as witness No. 550 before the Scottish Court in the Netherlands. He states (Par 2) that he has stolen a handmade (by him) sample of an “MST-13 Timer PC-board” from MEBO company in Zurich and handed it over, on 22 June 1989 (!), to an “official person investigating the Lockerbie case.” He further states (in Par 5) that the fragment of the MST-13 timer, cut into two pieces for “supposedly forensic reasons,” which was presented in Court as vital part of evidence, stemmed from the piece which he had stolen and handed over to an investigator in 1989. He further states that when he became aware that this piece was used for an “intentional politically motivated criminal undertaking” (vorsätzliche politisch kriminelle “Machenschaft”) he decided, out of fear for his life, to keep silent on the matter.
The rather late admission of Mr Lumpert is consistent with an earlier revelation in the British and Scottish media according to which a former Scottish police officer (whose identity has not yet been disclosed to the public) stated “that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan” for the bombing of the Pan Am jet (Scotland on Sunday, 28 August 2005).
Upon receipt of the document, Dr Koechler informed the owner of MEBO AG on 7 August 2007 that Mr Lumpert will have to submit his affidavit under oath before the competent judicial authorities of Scotland. In the meantime (22 August 2007), the owner of MEBO AG has requested the Scottish judicial authorities – by way of the Swiss Prosecutor’s office and on the basis of the agreement on mutual judicial assistance between the UK and Switzerland – to investigate the alleged criminal manipulations referred to in Mr Lumpert’s statement.
In his capacity as UN-appointed observer of the Lockerbie trial, Dr Hans Koechler has repeatedly raised the issue of the timer fragment and expressed his amazement at the Defense team’s refusal to look into the matter during Mr Megrahi’s appeal when questions as to the reliability of forensic evidence had already been raised. (See Dr Koechler’s appeal report, Par 10 [c] of 26 March 2002; his statement of 23 August 2003, Par 10; and his statement of 14 October 2005, Par 2.)
It is to be recalled that, as witness before the Lockerbie court, Mr Edwin Bollier had raised the issue of the manipulation of the timer fragments, but was brusquely interrupted in his testimony by the presiding Judge and prevented from giving further information in this matter.
In the meantime (information received on 26 August 2007), Mr Lumpert has revised part of his Affidavit (Par 5); he now states that the letter “M” on the timer fragment (supposedly for the German word Muster: sample), unlike previously stated, has been engraved by himself. In view of this and earlier statements, Mr Lumpert’s credibility will have to be assessed very carefully by the competent judicial authorities and he will have to be made aware of the consequences, in terms of criminal law, of lying to the Court.
At the same time, the credibility of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) is also at stake. In its News Release of 28 June 2007, in which it had announced the referral of Mr Al-Megrahi’s case to the Scottish High Court for a second appeal, the SCCRC found it necessary to “absolve” the investigating authorities of any suspicion of wrongdoing. Should Mr Lumpert’s confession be proven to be true, the SCCRC’s statement – “The Commission undertook extensive enquiries in this area but found nothing to support that allegation or to undermine the trial court’s conclusions in respect of the fragment” – will appear highly questionable, even dubious. The public will have to ask why a supposedly independent judicial review body would try to exonerate “preventively” officials in a case which is being returned to the High Court for a second appeal because of suspicions of a miscarriage of justice. If it is indeed the rule of law that governs the Scottish polity, the Scottish judicial authorities will have to deal with this new revelation ex officio– independently of how the appeal court in Mr Megrahi’s case will evaluate this witness’s confession of perjury.
Those responsible for the midair explosion of PanAm flight 103 will have to be identified and brought to justice. If there was any wrongdoing, criminal and/or due to incompetence, of the judicial authorities in the investigation and prosecution of the Lockerbie case, this will also have to be dealt with through proper procedures of criminal law. A continuation of the rather obvious cover-up which we have witnessed up until now is neither acceptable for the citizens of Scotland nor for the international public, Dr Koechler stated.
Dr Koechler's Lockerbie trial report: (http://i-p-o.org/lockerbie-report.htm)
Dr Koechler's Lockerbie appeal report of 26 March 2002:
Dr Koechler's statement of 23 August 2003 on the agreements between the UK, the USA and Libya: (http://i-p-o.org/koechler-lockerbie-statement-aug2003.htm)
Dr Koechler's statement on new Lockerbie revelations of 14 October 2005: (http://i-p-o.org/nr-lockerbie-14Oct05.htm)
Dr Koechler's statement on the referral of the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi to the High Court of Justiciary:
Web Site of the Lockerbie Observer Mission of Dr Hans Koechler: