Friday, 29 December 2017

Classified Lockerbie bombing files released after 25 years

[This is the headline over a report published this morning on the
STV News website. It reads in part:]

Newly-declassified files documenting the UK Government's efforts to bring the
Lockerbie bomber to justice in Scotland have been released. (...)

Libyan citizen Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of carrying out the attack
in 2001 after a series of failed attempts to extradite him.

The newly-released files reveal reveal Douglas Hurd, foreign secretary to Prime
Minister John Major, believed sanctions intended to force Libya into handing over
Megrahi were "rattling" its leaders as early as 1992.

He said it would be a "big prize" if Muammar Gaddafi released him to face
a Scottish court, but warned the UK Government should refuse to negotiate.

He cautioned against getting drawn into a "web of negotiation" and in a later
meeting acknowledged the chances of Gaddafi leader agreeing were "slight".

Hurd admitted that if the Libyan government remained defiant in the face of
sanctions "the prospects for tightening them would not be good".

Sanctions would eventually succeed in securing Megrahi's extradition, although
it would be another seven years until that happened. Gaddafi handed over
Megrahi and his co-accused Lamin Khalifah Fhimah in 1999.

They were put on trial at a specially-convened Scottish court in the Netherlands
in 2001.

Meghrahi was convicted of murder and given a life sentence, while Mr Fhimah
was acquitted.

The conviction remains controversial, however.

Jim Swire, the father of a Lockerbie victim, has campaigned to clear Megrahi's
name. He met with the foreign secretary in 1992 and is described in the papers
as a "sensible man with whom it is important to keep in touch".

Earlier this year Megrahi's family launched a third appeal against his conviction
with Mr Swire's backing.

Megrahi's supporters believe he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and
claimed the bombing was ordered by Iran in retaliation for the downing of an
Iranian airliner in 1988, which killed 290 people.

They believe the Lockerbie bombing was carried out by a Syrian-Palestinian group
who escaped justice.

Megrahi served the majority of his sentence in Scotland but was controversially
released in August 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.
Megrahi returned to Libya, where he died in May 2012.

[RB: The Cabinet Office has blocked the release of one Lockerbie file
that would otherwise have been disclosed.]


  1. I come to think of the golden rule my sister laid out for me when I was a young kid:
    "If they allow you to read it you will probably not find it that interesting."

  2. Your opportunity is in IRAN now. This time it is for real as Rafsanjani is gone.

    You have many natural allies who want Iran blamed and the National Iranian Oil Company NOT to drill in the North Sea to get hard currency.

    They have files of their own and can force the Powers-that-be to succumb.

    Don't look decades ago; look at the BBC