[This is the headline over a report in today’s edition of The National. It reads as follows:]
Campaigners who believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted of the Lockerbie bombing have said they doubt if a former justice secretary’s book on the atrocity will shed any further light on it.
Kenny MacAskill’s book will likely give his version of the period leading up to the release the terminally-ill Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and the subsequent international condemnation of the decision after the Libyan agent went on to live for a further three years.
It is said to include new details about MacAskill’s own investigation into the bombing, but Iain McKie, a retired police officer and leading member of the Justice for Megrahi (JfM) group, told The National he doubted that the MSP was cashing in on the case: “I would certainly hope that’s not the case. Surely anything of that nature should have been revealed long before now.
“I think it is more likely to focus on the political machinations surrounding the disaster both at home and abroad, but it is another indication that this is not going to go away.
“Reports on two police inquiries have still to be published, there is a documentary planned for later in the year and there is another book, and I think the relatives – for whom I have the deepest sympathy – deserve to know the truth.”
Robert Black QC, professor emeritus of Scots law at the University of Edinburgh, who is a native of Lockerbie and a prominent member of JfM, added: “I very much doubt that Kenny’s book will add anything substantial to the sum of human knowledge on Lockerbie.
“I know it’s said that he’s conducted his own investigations, but I find it difficult to believe he can have uncovered anything that hasn’t already been brought into to public domain by Dr Morag Kerr (Adequately Explained by Stupidity: Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies) and John Ashton (Megrahi: You Are My Jury).
“If he has discovered evidence pointing to the guilt of others (Libyan or non-Libyan) or that in his view confirms the guilt of Megrahi, then he’s duty bound to have passed this on to the police and/or the Crown Office (who say that Lockerbie remains an open investigation) who would undoubtedly adjure him not to go public with the evidence.
“I find it utterly impossible to believe that a former Cabinet Secretary for Justice would ignore such a request or instruction.
“I therefore suspect that the book will deal virtually exclusively with Kenny’s role in the run-up to Megrahi’s compassionate release.”
American Susan Cohen, who lost her 20-year-old daughter Theodora in the bombing, said she was sceptical about the book.
“Do we really think MacAskill will tell us the truth?
“It will just be an exercise in self-serving and some attempt to protect what he thinks is his legacy,” she said.
“I find it disgusting.”