Monday, 24 April 2017

The world will say sorry one day

[Most of the UK print and broadcast media today carry reports of the Megrahi family’s bid to secure a fresh appeal against the conviction of Abdelbaset. None of the reports adds anything significant to the article in yesterday’s Sunday Mail that broke the story, with the exception perhaps of a piece in the Daily Mail from which the following is excerpted:]

The Lockerbie bomber’s widow has sparked outrage after claiming that the ‘world will say sorry to my husband and my family’ as she launches a legal bid to clear his name.

Relatives of the family of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi also want former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to be quizzed in court over Libyan’s release – and he has said he is happy to help.

Megrahi’s widow Aisha said: ‘I wish to pursue this appeal in my husband’s name to have his conviction overturned, to clear his name and to clear the name of my family.

‘The world will say sorry to my husband and my family one day.’ (...)

The grounds for a new appeal will formally be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) by the Megrahi family’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, this week.

An SCCRC decision to refer the case to the Appeal Court would prove a major humiliation for prosecutors and the Scottish Government.

Last night, American Susan Cohen, 79, who lost her daughter Theodora, 20, in the tragedy, said: ‘The world owes an apology to the families of the victims for allowing airline security to be so lax and in some cases for failing to voice their outrage over the atrocity.

‘The bombing destroyed my life and took away the only person I was prepared to die for.

‘The people who insist on Megrahi’s innocence are using alternative facts, they’re conspiracy theorists.

‘In terms of the appeal, a lot of the people involved are dead and probably by the time this is concluded some of the victims’ relatives will also be dead.’

The SCCRC has already ruled that the Libyan’s conviction was potentially a miscarriage of justice.

Relatives of victims, led by Dr Swire, tried to have the conviction overturned posthumously but the SCCRC ruled it could re-examine only if asked by the family. That barrier has now been overcome. (...)

The SCCRC has the power to refer the case to the Appeal Court if it feels there are grounds. The process is likely to take months.

Mr Anwar said: ‘A reversal of the verdict would mean that the governments of the United States and the UK would be accused of having lived a monumental lie for over a quarter of a century and having imprisoned a man they knew to be innocent for the worst mass murder on British soil.’

According to Megrahi’s deathbed memoirs, published in 2012, Mr MacAskill indirectly urged him to ditch an appeal in return for his freedom – dismissed by the SNP at the time as ‘hearsay’.

Mr MacAskill, Justice Secretary between 2007 and 2014 under Alex Salmond, promised to come forward if asked, saying: ‘If I am called to give evidence, I will give evidence.

‘Due process will take place and I will fully co-operate.’

He strongly defended the decision to release Megrahi.

Dr Swire said: ‘Before Megrahi died, I met him in Tripoli and reassured him I would still do everything I could to clear his name.’

1 comment:

  1. I have the profoundest sympathy for Susan Cohen. Nobody should have to go through what she has gone through. And she is absolutely bang on the nail about the airport security. It was abysmal. Nobody at Heathrow airport even had a record of the number of suitcases that were loaded into that container in the interline shed. There were also no records of what was x-rayed before being put in the container (in contrast to Frankfurt, where items x-rayed before being put on the feeder flight were recorded, with a note of "nothing in particular was seen on the monitor".)

    Pan Am was justly convicted of negligence, but ironically in relation to Frankfurt where nothing actually happened, rather than in relation to Heathrow where the evidence is clear that the bomb was introduced.

    Nothing is improved, and nobody's grief is lessened, by continuing to accuse the wrong person. This lazy slur of "conspiracy theorist" (now joined by "alternative facts") is simply a way of avoiding looking at the very real facts that were always there and haven't changed since 1988, but which were simply wrongly analysed back then.