Megrahi conviction was a “politically motivated crusade”

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora perished in the tragedy, has claimed that the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was a “politically motivated crusade”.
 
Dr Swire was speaking on Radio Scotland after the Libyan was discovered close to death in his parent’s home in Tripoli, disproving earlier media reports that he had fled the city.

“I bitterly resent the fact that having been present throughout the trial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, what I heard convinced me, not that he was one of the murderers of my daughter, but that he wasn’t involved as accused.” he said.

Dr Swire added “I bitterly resent the fact that my daughter’s murder and all those two hundred and sixty nine other murders are couched in what seems to me to have been a politically motivated crusade to ensure that the blame was passed to Megrahi and Gaddafi.

“In fact the evidence did not stack up.”

As part of the Justice for Megrahi group Dr Swire has been at the forefront of a campaign for a full inquiry into Megrahi’s trial.  He said he found it “appalling” that the Scottish government had thus far “failed to find a venue for re-examination of the verdict”. 

He suggested that subsequent revelations about the trial process, including allegations that the main witness against Megrahi had been paid $2 million by the US, was to Scotland’s shame and also criticised the withholding of vital evidence citing the break in at a Heathrow airport hanger in the hours prior to Pan Am 103 taking off that was not presented at trial.

Sunday’s discovery of Mr Megrahi by a CNN reporter followed speculation that he had been clandestinely taken from the city by people close to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  These media reports gave rise to claims that he had breached the terms of his compassionate release and politicians in the UK and US demanded he be handed over.

Dr Swire described the calls from the American Senators and various UK politicians as “monstrous” and predicted that when the truth of Lockerbie finally emerges there will be “a lot of red faces”.

Responding to suggestions that there may be information yet to emerge from Libya about Lockerbie, Dr Swire warned against believing anything that came out a country he described as being “submerged in the fog of war.”

An investigation carried out by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission cast doubt on the trial verdict and the results of the report are expected to be published soon by the Scottish government.

Dr Swire suggested that people may have to accept that Libya may not have been the prime mover in the Lockerbie atrocity and insisted that the modus operandi of a 38 minute timer pointed to a Palestinian terror group having been responsible.