Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Megrahi ‘innocent’

[This is the heading over a letter in today’s edition of The Times (behind the paywall) from Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC (Anthony Lester).  It reads as follows:]

Lord Lester of Herne Hill acted for Abdul Baset al-Megrahi in the European Court of Human Rights, and believes him to be innocent

I acted for Abdul Baset al-Megrahi in his unsuccessful application to the European Court of Human Rights complaining of a breach of his right to a fair criminal trial (reports, May 21 and 22). I did not appear in the Scottish proceedings, but, after reviewing all the transcripts and judgments, I came to the conclusion that there had been a serious miscarriage of justice.

When I met al-Megrahi in HMP Barlinnie, I asked him whether he thought the Libyan government would stand by him. He replied, “they ought to do so but I am not sure whether they will”.

He told me what it had been like in Tripoli when sanctions had been imposed to secure his extradition to face trial. He said that in the midst of a huge media campaign his mother had asked him if he had any more bombs in his possession. He said he realised that if even his own mother believed he was guilty it was unlikely that he would have a fair trial.

It is regrettable that, despite the concerns expressed by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, after a three-year examination of the evidence, he was persuaded to abandon his further appeal before being released and returned to die in Libya.

In my view, he was not the perpetrator of the barbaric Lockerbie atrocity.

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