Lockerbie ‘trial-verdict inquiry’ plea at Holyrood

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Campaigners calling for an inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbasset Al Megrahi are taking their case to the Scottish Parliament.

Around 1,500 people have signed a petition by the Justice For Megrahi (JFM) campaign group calling on the Scottish Government to hold their own inquiry into the conviction.

There is a growing body of opinion both in Scotland and beyond who question the original trial verdict.  The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission also found that a miscarriage of justice may have taken place.

Members of the JFM, including Dr Jim Swire whose daughter Flora was killed in the disaster, will appear before Holyrood’s petitions committee today (Tuesday).

Dr Swire said: “It is imperative that the Scottish Government open an inquiry under its own auspices to deal with the corrosive and deeply damaging effects ‘The Lockerbie Case’ has had upon the Scottish criminal justice system.”

The Libyan remains the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in which 270 people were killed.

Mr Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland last year on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The petition has already attracted the support of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The witnesses appearing before MSPs will also include Edinburgh University Emeritus Scots Law Professor Robert Black QC, an architect of the the non-jury Lockerbie trial under Scots Law at Camp Zeist in 2000, who has since slammed the verdict as a “miscarriage of justice.”

Megrahi dropped a second appeal against his conviction in the run-up to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to free him on compassionate grounds.

Campaigners have claimed that there remains a possibility they could pick up Megrahi’s appeal against conviction even if he died.