Thursday, 19 March 2020

Megrahi case review may not provide closure but there are people who might be able to

[This is part of the headline over an article by Kenny MacAskill in today's edition of The Scotsman. It reads as follows:]

The Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission’s decision to refer the Megrahi case back to the courts really isn’t a surprise. Issues of concern in the Lockerbie bombing trial include not least the witness payments to Tony Gauci.

That isn’t a criticism of those who presided at the Camp Zeist Trial as that wasn’t known to them. But it’s unacceptable in Scottish trials for a witness to be paid. Moreover, the judges then were caustic in comments about another witness who had been rewarded by the CIA. [RB: It is interesting that Mr MacAskill chooses to focus on the payment to Gauci rather than the (much more important) SCCRC finding that no reasonable trial court could have held on the evidence led at the trial that the case against Megrahi was proved beyond reasonable doubt.]

So back the case goes and while it may resolve some aspects relating to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, I won’t hold my breath that it’ll cast any more light on Lockerbie.

That’s a travesty as since the fall of former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi both new information and more importantly new witnesses, if not accused, have come to light.

As the regime collapsed, MI6 got the Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa out and back to London where he was debriefed, firstly by them and then by the Americans.

He’s now living an opulent life in Qatar whilst others that he served with rot in jails in Tripoli. They include Gaddafi’s henchman Abdullah Senussi and even the man believed by many to have been the bomber.

They’ll have been spoken to by the Americans if not the British and other bit-part players were also extracted. Will the information they provided be heard and will any of them even be charged?

Sadly, this review will clarify some questions regarding Megrahi, but I very much doubt it’ll provide closure on Lockerbie.

[RB: Kenny MacAskill is clearly sticking to his position that Lockerbie was a Libyan operation, whether or not Abdelbaset Megrahi was wrongfully convicted. His views, originally expressed in his book, have been cogently crticised, not least by John Ashton here and James Robertson here.]

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