Sunday, 29 January 2017

'The world will know he's innocent'

[This is part of the headline over an article (with pictures) by Marcello Mega in today’s Scottish edition of The Mail on Sunday. It reads in part:]

The son of the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is launching a fresh appeal to clear his father's name and has declared: 'The world will know he is innocent.'

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of planting the bomb which destroyed a Pan-Am jumbo jet over southern Scotland in 1988 – killing 270 people in the worst act of mass murder ever carried out on British soil.

Now his son Ali, backed by his family and the British relatives of those who died in the atrocity, is to ask Scottish authorities to declare his father's conviction a miscarriage of justice.

Within weeks, the son of the man who came to be known as the Lockerbie Bomber, will present a dossier of documents and new evidence to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).

He said: 'We believe as a family that my father is innocent. My father knew he would die one day, so he gave us all the evidence for his case and it is with me right now.

'Injustice is there to see, because there is new evidence that has never been handed to the court of Scotland or any other place.

'I want the opening of the case again, and we are ready to give all the new evidence from start to finish and the world will know that my father is innocent.

I want to tell the victims of the massacre and the people living in Lockerbie: 'I want you to give him a chance so that you will know the truth.'

‘The evidence that will be put forward to the court will show the innocence of my father.”

Megrahi's son added that the case would be re-opened 'pretty soon'.
After being found guilty of the bombing, Megrahi served his sentence in a Scottish jail.

From prison he referred his case to the SCCRC – which ruled in 2007 that there were several grounds for considering there may have been a miscarriage of justice.

But despite the apparent vindication he had received from the SCCRC, Megrahi – who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer – dropped his appeal. Soon afterwards he was controversially freed from jail on compassionate grounds and flown back to his native Libya, where he died in May 2012.

Campaigners including Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was among the passengers killed when the Pan-Am flight was blown out of the sky, tried to persuade the SCCRC to re-open the case in a bid to overturn Megrahi's conviction posthumously.

But the SCCRC ruled it could only look at the case again if Megrahi's family formally became part of the appeal process – which is now happening, the Scottish Mail on Sunday can reveal.

In November, Scottish lawyer Aamer Anwar flew to Zurich with Dr Swire to meet Megrahi's son Ali and widow Aisha to collect documents relating to the appeal and to Megrahi's estate.

Last night Mr Anwar declined to discuss the case, saying only that it was at 'a sensitive stage'.

But Dr Swire confirmed the case is progressing. He said: 'I'm starting to believe that by the 30th anniversary in December 2018, we must have progress. With Baset's family now able to prove it is on board, I really believe the justice system has nowhere to hide.

'The commission cannot go back on its findings of a decade ago that there may have been a miscarriage of justice, and there is an absolute avalanche of fresh forensic information that will destroy a case already picked apart ten years ago.'

Megrahi's oldest son, Khaled, said: 'I know that one day the truth must go out. The last words my dad said were that one day God will show the truth.' (...)

For the past three years Police Scotland has also been running an Operation Sandwood investigation into claims that Crown officials, police officers and expert witnesses acted illegally to secure Megrahi's conviction.

Yesterday the SCCRC said: 'We do not currently have an application in this case.' The Crown Office said that as papers had not yet been lodged it had nothing to say.

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