Sunday, 22 November 2015

From the beginning we have all sought justice and truth

[On this date in 2010 The Herald reported that Pat Keegans, parish priest of Lockerbie at the time of the Pan Am 103 disaster, had written to the families of US victims asking for their support in seeking an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie affair. The report no longer appears on the newspaper’s website, but a long excerpt can be read here. Canon Keegans’s letter reads as follows:]

Dear Families,

We met through an horrendous act of murder. We lost family members and friends through this heinous crime. In all that has happened over the years I have never lost sight of the great suffering inflicted upon you and have sought where possible to be a source of solace, healing and comfort. At the same time I have also been a challenge. Before the trial of Mr Megrahi and Mr Fahima I was saying to many of the families and to the media that I did not believe that the real perpetrators had been arrested and put on trial. During the trial and afterwards I was saying that the trial and the verdict would not stand up to scrutiny; it has not stood up to serious scrutiny. What I was voicing before, during and after the trial has now been voiced by many people at an international level. In his statement Cardinal O’Brien said this: “From the moment the verdict was announced, voices have been raised in protest. Over the years the clamour has grown amongst lawyers, politicians, academics and a growing number of ordinary citizens that the verdict amounted to a miscarriage of justice.”

I for my part would affirm that such voices cannot be discounted as the rantings and ravings of conspiracy theory fanatics or deranged and misguided people. Their voices merit a full, independent and public enquiry into all aspects of what we in Scotland call the Lockerbie Bombing.

I am aware that this is not a view commonly held by you; however, I would ask you to give your support, individually and/or as a group to a full, independent public enquiry. It is your strongly held view that the trial and verdict were valid. After all that has happened since the trial I would have to wonder if such a view is tenable. However, your certainty in the validity of the trial and conviction should allow you to accept that such an enquiry would vindicate your belief and you should have nothing to fear from it. At the same time your support for an enquiry would show your concern for the legitimate and sincere views consistently held by me and many others.

From the beginning we have all sought justice and truth. Whatever our views, it is clear that the full truth has not emerged; people who murdered our family members and friends are still at large. There has been a conviction which is not universally accepted but has been questioned by many. A full, public, independent enquiry into all aspects of the bombing would assist us in finding truth and justice for ourselves and all who have died.

Finally, I will continue to offer to you unconditionally, wherever it is accepted, any support, solace and comfort that I can give.

You are never far from my thoughts and prayers.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Keegans

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