Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Campaigners present Lockerbie bomber inquiry case

[This is the headline over a report that appeared on the BBC News website on this date in 2010. It reads as follows:]

Campaigners calling for an inquiry into the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber have taken their case to Holyrood.
About 1,500 people have signed a petition by the Justice For Megrahi (JFM) group for an independent probe into Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's case.
Members of the group, including Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the 1988 atrocity, appeared before Holyrood's petitions committee.
He said it was "imperative" that the Scottish government opened an inquiry.
Mr Swire said the case had "deeply damaging effects" on the country's criminal justice system.
Megrahi remains the only person convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, in which 270 people were killed.
The Libyan was released from prison in Scotland in August last year on compassionate grounds when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and thought to have three months to live.
The petition has already attracted the support of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Have I Got News for You? TV star Ian Hislop.
The witnesses appearing before MSPs also included Edinburgh University Emeritus Scots Law Professor Robert Black, an architect of the non-jury Lockerbie trial under Scots Law in the neutral Netherlands in 2000.
He has since called the verdict a "miscarriage of justice".
Megrahi dropped a second appeal against his conviction in the run-up to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to free him on compassionate grounds.
However, campaigners have said they could possibly try to pick up the appeal against conviction if he dies.
[On the same date Anne McLaughlin (then MSP, now MP) wrote the following on her blog:]
As a member of the Petitions Committee in Parliament I am particularly looking forward to tomorrow's meeting. We will hear evidence from Jim Swire, father of Flora who was one of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing. He'll be presenting evidence in support of his petition calling for an enquiry into the conviction of Megrahi. He'll do so alongside Professor Robert Black and Iain McKie, father of Shirley.
I've met Iain McKie a couple of times through previous work and found him to be both charismatic and inspirational. And of course Jim Swire has to be one of the most compassionate people ever. I don't know if they have a point in claiming that Megrahi is innocent. What I do know is that it would be all too easy (and understandable) for Mr Swire to accept Megrahi's guilt and put all of his negativity energy in that direction.
But he didn't accept it. He has been outspoken in his condemnation of the conviction and as you can see is campaigning for an enquiry into it. I guess it's important to him that they get the right person but how tempting must it have been to turn a blind eye and blame the man with the conviction?
The other thing that occurs to me is that tomorrow, as I imagine is always the case, he will give evidence and in the recesses of his mind will be this image of his daughter, his flesh and blood, a young woman with a zest for life who only got to live for 24 years. That pain must never leave him and for that reason I am in awe of him and have nothing but the deepest respect.
[RB: The petition (PE1370) remains open, and is now on the work programme of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee.]

No comments:

Post a Comment