[What follows is the text of a statement issued today by Aamer Anwar:]
Statement issued by Aamer Anwar - lawyer instructed on behalf of the family of the late Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and Dr Jim Swire and other British relatives.
LOCKERBIE REVELATIONS BY EX-JUSTICE SECRETARY KENNY MACKASKILL
In 2014 I submitted an application with the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) seeking to overturn the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for murder. That application was submitted on behalf of Dr Jim Swire, Rev’d John F Mosey and 22 other British relatives of passengers who died on board Pan Am Flight 103 and also the six immediate family members of the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
The Commission determined on the 28th June 2007 that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi may have suffered a miscarriage of justice in relation to his conviction and identified six grounds for referring the case to the High Court. We asked the Commission to reconfirm these six grounds and address the issue of whether it was in the interests of justice to refer the case to the High Court for a further appeal. Sadly last November the SCCRC refused the application for referral.
Today family members of the victims were angered and shocked by Kenny MacKaskill’s claims that Mr al-Megrahi’s release was part of a larger scheme to secure £13billion oil deals and £350 million worth of defence contracts for British firms. If true that is a shocking abuse of our justice system.
An Appeal was commenced but following the diagnosis of terminal cancer it was suddenly abandoned in 2009. At the time the British Government and Scottish Government denied they played any role in pressurising Mr al-Megrahi into dropping his appeal as a condition of his immediate release but also denied that squalid deals for oil or weapons were behind his release.
Of course a prisoner transfer was never open if the appeal was ongoing, but it was claimed that al-Megrahi had no way of knowing that Kenny MacAskill would ultimately opt for compassionate release rather than prisoner transfer, but it is also alleged that al-Megrahi was led to believe that he would not be released unless he dropped his appeal.
Mr Megrahi was convicted on the word of a Maltese shop owner Gauci who claimed to have sold him the clothes, then gave a false description of him in multiple statements.
Yet it is now accepted by the ex-Justice Secretary, that Megrahi might not have bought those clothes found in the wreckage of the Pan Am aircraft.
Yet Gauci was central to al-Megrahi’s conviction because the clothes recovered from the suitcase that carried the bomb onto Pan Am 103 were traced back to his shop.
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 stood exposed as having lived a monumental lie for 25 years and having 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 verdict.