Friday, 6 February 2015

Long standing difference in approach between UK and US families

[Hexham parents of Lockerbie victim Alistair Berkley involved in new appeal call is the headline over a report published this evening on the Chronicle Live website. It reads as follows:]

The North East parents of a Lockerbie victim are involved in a campaign to have the only man convicted of the atrocity cleared.

Jean and Barrie Berkley, who lost son Alistair in the 1988 bombing, are among a number of UK relatives of victims who believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi suffered a miscarriage of justice.

They - and relatives of al-Megrahi - have applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to refer his case back to the High Court for a fresh appeal.

However, the move has pitted UK families against their American counterparts, who have called it “disgraceful” and registered their opposition.

Megrahi, who died in 2012, remains the only person convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 on December 21 1988, in which 270 people were killed.

Members of Megrahi’s family and the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, which includes relatives of British victims, are seeking to review the conviction.

Mrs and Mrs Berkley, 84 and 87 respectively and who live at Sandhoe, Hexham, are among the UK relatives to have signed the petition.

Mrs Berkley, whose son, a law lecturer at the Polytechnic of Central London, was 29 when he was killed, said: “To us it seems there are many unanswered questions and we would like to know what the answers are.

“There were many things about the trial which were unsatisfactory.”

However, the Mary Kay Stratis, the widow of US victim Elia Stratis, has written to the (SCCRC) to voice American relatives’ opposition to the petition.

Mrs Berkley, co-ordinator of the UK Families Flight 103 group with her husband treasurer, said there was a “long standing” difference in approach.

“I am very sorry the American families are upset about this but we just have a different way of looking at it,” she added.

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