Tuesday, 22 December 2020

The enduring scandal of al-Megrahi’s conviction

[Don't call this a conspiracy theory is the heading over a letter published in The Times today. It reads as follows:]

Sir, Magnus Linklater (“Why I cannot believe Lockerbie conspiracies”, Scottish edition, Dec 21) has cast as conspiracy theorists those of us who believe that Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted. Yet in making his case he is guilty of a common failing of conspiracy theorists — misrepresenting certain facts and sidestepping others. He suggests that we believe that a fragment of circuit board was substituted for the one that implicated al-Megrahi and Libya. Had he read my biography of al-Megrahi he would know that I knocked down that claim. He would also know that I set out the scientific evidence — much of which had been produced by prosecution experts — that disproved the prosecution’s central claim that the fragment originated from a batch of timers that was supplied to Libya. Mr Linklater also ignores powerful evidence, most of which was unavailable to al-Megrahi’s trial judges, that the Lockerbie bomb began its journey at Heathrow, rather than, as the prosecution claimed, at Luqa airport, Malta. The enduring scandal of al-Megrahi’s conviction is that the prosecution failed to release numerous items of exculpatory evidence to the defence. Whether that was a result of a cock-up or a conspiracy is moot. What matters is that al-Megrahi was denied a fair trial.

John Ashton

Author, Megrahi: You Are my Jury

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