[In today's edition of The Times there appears an obituary of Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya. After his retirement from the Foreign Office, Oliver Miles was a frequent commentator in the media on matters relating to Libya including, inevitably, the Lockerbie case. References to him on this blog can be found here. What follows comes from a report in The Times on 14 August 2009:]
Relatives of Lockerbie victims were denied their final chance of discovering the truth yesterday when the only man convicted of the atrocity abruptly dropped his appeal.
The decision of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, who is expected to be freed from prison in Scotland next week allowing his return to Libya, sparked charges of a top-level cover-up.
Politicians, relatives and experts accused the Scottish government of striking a deal with the convicted terrorist: that in return for his repatriation he would abandon an appeal that might have exposed a grave miscarriage of justice. “It’s pretty likely there was a deal,” said Oliver Miles, a former British Ambassador to Libya, who told The Times that the British and Scottish governments had been very anxious to avoid the appeal. (...)
Al-Megrahi’s lawyers said he had dropped his appeal because his health had deteriorated sharply, though Scottish law would permit the appeal to continue even after his death.
Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, strenuously denied that any pressure had been put on him. “We have no interest in pressurising people to drop appeals. Why on earth should we? That’s not our position — never has been,” he said.
But the Scottish government faced a wave of scepticism. Mr Miles called al-Megrahi’s original trial “deeply flawed” and said that both Scottish and British governments wanted no appeal because it would be very embarrassing.