[This is the headline over a letter from Dr Jim Swire published today on the website of The Herald. It reads as follows:]
As we enter a new decade, inevitably we carry with us uncompleted business from the past.
More than three decades ago an aircraft loaded with a terrorist bomb at Heathrow Airport exploded and fell upon the innocent town of Lockerbie. Ever since then some of us UK relatives of those who died aboard that aircraft have diligently sought the truth.
Our requests for an inquiry to successive Prime Ministers have always been rebuffed. Thus we have no explanation as to why a device about which Lady Thatcher’s Government had been warned in detail and in good time by the West Germans was allowed to be loaded onto the aircraft.
Following the heroic recovering of the bodies, and the deeply moving support of so many in that little town, in the face of the loss of its own 11 victims we felt the healing effect of their love.
It seemed that the fingertip searching of the disaster fields was a lesson in how a murder investigation should be conducted. However, by the time the police inquiry had culminated in the trial and a guilty verdict at Zeist in 2001 it became impossible for many to believe that the truth had been revealed.
Certainly even for us laymen there appeared to be multiple and very serious defects in much of the evidence, even down to what might or might not have been recovered from the crash site.
Over the intervening decades there have been many delays, culminating in the withdrawal of an appeal by the convicted Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, associated with his precipitous, but for some of us hugely welcome, release to die at home from his prostate cancer among his own family. This appeal ceased just before much new and apparently irrefutable evidence of the convicted man’s innocence could be heard.
Some of us relatives of the dead then applied to the High Court for a review of the entire case through a further appeal. This we were refused amongst allegations that we should be regarded as "a mischief".
We then flew to meet with members of Megrahi’s family and found them determined to apply under solicitor Aamer Anwar for a further appeal themselves, convinced, as they too are, of his total innocence.
Now it may be that 2020 will be the year of clear vision over this dreadful and fully avoidable tragedy.
Our independent Scottish criminal justice system has had from 1991 when the indictments against two Libyans were first issued to decide the issue of whether the two accused Libyans did destroy the PanAm 103 aircraft along with all those on board and 11 on the ground in Lockerbie or not. It has chosen to reject the request of some of those closest to some of the murdered passengers for a full review of the case including evidence accruing since the Zeist trial, through a further appeal.
We have been forced to the belief based on more than 30 years of study that there are aspects of our Scottish criminal justice system that are simply not fit for purpose. We have never wanted revenge even against the actual perpetrators themselves, looking instead for what can be done to improve our world in the name of those who died so cruelly and avoidably back in 1988. One of those improvements might be a full review of why the current system seems to defend itself against all criticism rather than address the deeply held doubts of those who have suffered from their marginalisation for so long.
More than 31 years after the atrocity the Government’s documents relating to it are still being sequestered in a special category of security in the National Archives where they are not accessible to requests under FOI nor from the media. Why would they do that? Government in secrecy is not democracy, any more than justice delayed is justice.
Let us make the clearing up of these cruel mysteries our vision for 2020.