Thursday, 17 December 2015

Lockerbie inquiry ruled out

[This is the headline over a report published on the BBC News website on this date in 2002. It reads as follows:]

Relatives of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing have been told there will be no further investigation by the UK Government.

At a meeting with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw they were told a fresh inquiry was unlikely to be of any benefit.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was convicted of murder for smuggling a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December, 1988, with the loss of 270 lives.

Megrahi was moved to Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison in March after he lost an appeal against his conviction. He is now serving a sentence of at least 20 years.

His appeal was rejected by judges at the special Scottish court at the Camp Zeist compound.

The government in July rejected calls from MPs for a public inquiry into the tragedy but pledged to look at other scrutiny options.

In a written Commons statement Mr Straw said: "We have taken the view that to be of value, any scrutiny should be able to deliver new and useful conclusions despite the passage of time and the investigations that have already taken place.

"We have concluded that, given the absence of any significant new information, the fact that the key issues have already been extensively explored and action taken - including substantial changes to airport procedures - it is most unlikely that any further form of inquiry would unearth further lessons to be learned 14 years after the event which had not already been identified by earlier investigations.

"The government have therefore decided not to initiate any further form of review on Lockerbie."

A Scottish MP in March called for a public inquiry into the bombing despite Megrahi's conviction.

Russell Brown, whose Dumfries constituency includes the town of Lockerbie, said many questions had been left unanswered.

[RB: The full text of Jack Straw’s statement can be read here. It should be contrasted with assurances given to Dr Jim Swire by Tony Blair on 10 December 1998.]

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