Saturday, 22 August 2020

Megrahi lawyers' statement on preliminary hearing and funding issue

[What follows is excerpted from a press release issued today by Aamer Anwar & Co:]

The reputation of Scottish Law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr Al Megrahi. (...)

We claimed today that the Crown failed to disclose CIA cables in respect of a key crown witness on the basis of an undertaking given to the United States Government.

We claimed that there was systemic failure to disclose documents to the defence and that the Lord Advocate acted in a way which was incompatible with Mr Al- Megrahi’s right to a fair trial.

 It is disappointing that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab  for has lodged a further Public Interest Immunity Certificate, which in essence means 31 years after the bombing, the UK Government still refuse to declassify documents that we believe indicate a miscarriage of justice.

Many of the families have asked whose public interest is being protected.

Today the court formally considered our Grounds of Appeal as well as extended grounds to be argued at a full hearing proposed for November 23rd.

The Judges will give their decision [later] on the extended grounds and the specification for recovery of documents.

This is an extremely tight timescale and the question of funding was raised with the court, as despite promises by the official Libyan Government over several years for funding support for the legal case, they have failed to do so.

We understand the matter rests with the Libyan Prime Minister and the Presidential Council since the 23rd July 2020.

We require equality of the arms of justice and we await the decision of the Libyan Government.

Many Libyans believe that their country was punished for a crime they did not commit and innocent man, Mr Al-Megrahi was incarcerated.

Today was an important milestone for the Megrahi family on the road to establishing that the verdict against their father was a miscarriage of justice.

Many of the British families of the victims supporting this appeal still ache for their loved ones and yearn for  truth and justice.

There can be no time limit on justice.

This is opportunity once and for all to have finality and closure.

We await the decision of the judges on the issue of the documents being declassified and extended grounds.

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