Justice for Megrahi group issue fresh plea for Lockerbie inquiry

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The group behind the campaign to have a full inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi have issued a fresh appeal to the Scottish Government to instigate their own inquiry into the tragedy.

Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of planting the bomb that brought down Pan Am 103.  However there is now a growing body of opinion that believes the verdict represented a spectacular miscarriage of justice.


The group behind the campaign to have a full inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi have issued a fresh appeal to the Scottish Government to instigate their own inquiry into the tragedy.

Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of planting the bomb that brought down Pan Am 103.  However there is now a growing body of opinion that believes the verdict represented a spectacular miscarriage of justice.

Last week, Justice for Megrahi (JFM) sent a request to Alex Salmond asking him to either lobby for the setting up of a UN inquiry into the Lockerbie/Zeist case or open one under the auspices of the Scottish Government.  The Scottish Government responded by pledging to co-operate with any UN inquiry but explained that the international nature of such an inquiry was outside the scope of the Scottish Government.

The government accepted that “there remain concerns over some on the wider issues of the Lockerbie atrocity.” but explained that: “The questions to be asked and answered in any such inquiry would be beyond the jurisdiction of Scots law and the remit of the Scottish Government, and such an inquiry would therefore need to be initiated by those with the required power and authority to deal with an issue, international in its nature.”

However the JFM group has questioned the stance of the Scottish Government on the trial verdict and have pointed to the findings of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in their referral of the case to the Court of Appeal.  The SCCRC found evidence that suggested Mr Megrahi may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

The group also argued that the Scottish Government do indeed have sufficient powers with which to instigate their own inquiry.

In a statement released today the group said:
“The international nature of the event was not such an impediment when it came to trying Messrs al-Megrahi and Fhimah at Zeist in the first instance, was it? What then is the obstruction now, when it comes to opening a Holyrood inquiry into the safety of a verdict reached under Scots Law?

The group added:
“Outside of the UN, the authority best placed to open a Lockerbie inquiry is the Scottish Government. It is not only best placed in terms of its involvement in the tragedy, but also, as a consequence, in terms of the documents and other evidence which fall directly under Scottish jurisdiction”

The group also claimed that the reluctance to hold an inquiry in Scotland is “serving the interests of the wishes of the Scottish judiciary and other bodies”.

Last week it was reported that SCCRC had uncovered evidence that pointed to an Egyptian militant Abu Talb as being the perpetrator of the atrocity.  It was believed that Talb had been funded by Iran in revenge for the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner by a US warship six months before Lockerbie, the missile attack caused the death of 290 people.

However Talb was eventually replaced as the main suspect by two Libyan’s, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah who then stood trial.  Talb gave evidence for the prosecution and Al Megrahi was subsequently found guilty of murder.

Mr Megrahi dropped his appeal against conviction just prior to being released on compassionate grounds.  SNP MSP Chritine Grahame has since claimed that she received an email from a whistleblower in the Justice Department telling her that pressure was being applied to Libyan officials to ensure Mr Megrahi dropped his appeal.