Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Lawyer calls for fresh appeal over Lockerbie bombing

[This is the headline over a report published this evening on the website of The Herald. It reads in part:]

Revelations by former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill about the decision to release the only man ever tried over the Lockerbie bombing, should trigger a fresh appeal challenging his conviction, according to lawyer Aamer Anwar.

Mr Anwar, who applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of the case in 2014, acting on behalf of some of the relatives of those killed in the terrorist attack, said only an appeal could restore the credibility of Scottish justice.

A previous attempted appeal was abandoned in 2009 after Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi was diagnosed with cancer, and the Libyan was subsequently released on compassionate grounds.

However Mr Anwar claimed that a forthcoming book on the case by Mr MacAskill had revealed that prior plans for a prisoner transfer agreement between the UK and Libya had been part of a larger scheme to secure £13 billion in oil deals and £350m of defence contracts.

Mr MacAskill says the Scottish Government opposed any prisoner transfer agreement that involved Mr Al-Megrahi, despite pressure from then Home Secretary Jack Straw.

Mr Anwar claimed Mr Al-Megrahi had also faced pressure, leading him to believe he would not be released if he went ahead with his appeal.

He said:"The case of Al-Megrahi has been described as the worst miscarriage of justice in British legal history. A reversal of the verdict would have meant that the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom ... imprisoned a man they knew to be innocent for ten years.

"Sadly once again the reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system has been damaged both at home and internationally. The truth will only ever be exposed by allowing the Appeal Court to consider a fresh appeal challenging the original verdicts."

Mr MacAskill was not available for comment.

[RB: I suspect that this report omits a reference by Mr Anwar to the MacAskill revelation that, above all others, points to the need for a fresh appeal: namely, the concession that the items from Malta that surrounded the bomb were not purchased by Abdelbaset Megrahi. If the trial court had not found (wrongly) that he was the purchaser, it could not and would not have convicted him.

Aamer Anwar has confirmed on Twitter that my suspicion was correct:]

spot on Robert I mentioned that MacKaskill said he didn't believe Megrahi purchased the clothes!


  1. So why will they not admit that they knew Megrahi was not guilty. Instead they are pursueing the "Acomplaices" of an innocent. Something smells very bad here.It smells very "Oily" which is what it has been all about right from the very start.

  2. It seems that somewhere along the way Kenny has read and understood the SCCRC's findings that the 'identification' of Megrahi by Tony Gauci has been discredited. It's a pity he seems not to have read and understood their finding that
    It is sufficient to say that in the Commission’s view any finding that a reasonable court could not have inferred that the applicant was the purchaser would render the remaining evidence against him insufficient to convict.

    1. Precisely. If the judges had not found in fact that Megrahi was the purchaser they would not, and in law could not, have convicted him having regard to the other evidence (accepted *and* rejected) in the case.