Police diary claims Gauci knew of American reward
Attacks on medical evidence a ‘diversion’
UK Government ‘concealed’ break-in evidence
UK and US ’employed devious means’ for conviction
Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire has repeated claims that the conviction of Abdelbasset Al Megrahi was unsafe and alleges that the main prosecution witness, Tony Gauci, gave evidence in the full knowledge that a conviction would result in a payment of $2 million.
Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the Pan Am 103 victims, has urged US Senators currently looking into the compassionate release of Abdelbasset Al Megrahi to turn their attention to the circumstances of his conviction and the question of how the US behaved in the lead up to the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist.
Attacks on the medical evidence by the US senators and Labour MSPs have dominated news media in Scotland over the last several days. BBC Scotland reporters have themselves highlighted doubts about the accuracy of the medical reports with Glenn Campbell saying: “…the medical basis for release has turned out not to be accurate” (1) and colleague Raymond Buchanan asking whether Megrahi walking down the steps at Tripoli airport was “…proof the Libyan wasn’t as sick as we had been told” (2).
However, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday morning Dr Swire has called the attacks a diversion and insisted that US Senators ought to “put on their reading glasses” and address what he described as “the elephant in the room” that was the question of Megrahi’s guilt. Dr Swire defended the decision to release Megrahi and defended the medical evidence provided by the Scottish doctors.
Dr Swire said:
“Kenny MacAskill made a decision on the basis of an established principle under Scots law to release this guy on the basis of compassionate release because the guy was dying as I saw only too clearly when I saw him last week in Tripoli.”
Speaking about the conviction Dr Swire revealed the existence of a diary kept by a Scottish police officer involved in the Lockerbie case which has now been published by Mr Megrahi’s defence team. A section of the diary showed that the Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, whose identification of Megrahi was crucial to the prosecution, admitted prior to appearing as a witness that he was in line to receive $2 million if Megrahi was found guilty.
The diary recorded Gauci being questioned and revealing his knowledge of ‘substantial money” on offer:
Question: “What money?”
Answer: “Two million dollars”
Question: “Where from”
Answer: “An organisation called ‘Rewards for Justice’ in Washington DC”
Dr Swire full interview:
Dr Swire claimed that the payment to Gauci was more an attempt at reaching a “politically desirable endpoint” than a quest for justice.
Dr Swire also claimed the Westminster government were “hell bent” on concealing aspects of the Lockerbie disaster and accused them of withholding information relating to the break in at Heathrow from investigating police. The break in took place in an area used to hold luggage hours prior to the explosion.
Dr Swire insisted that a sufficiently powerful inquiry needed to be set up following the findings of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Board who concluded that a miscarriage of justice may have taken place. Dr Swire accused both the UK governmet and the US government of employing “devious means” in order to ensure a guilty verdict. He also insisted that outside of Scotland nations all over the world viewed the conviction of Al Megrahi as a “Monstrous parody of justice”, a verdict, said Dr Swire, that needed to be looked at objectively and the new evidence addressed.
Dr Swire announced that there is soon to be a petition lodged with the Scottish parliament for just such an inquiry and that the petition can be signed by any Scot who wishes to do so. The SNPs Christine Grahame has also called into question Megrahi’s conviction and supports calls for a full inquiry into the verdict.
1. Good Morning Scotland 29-09-10 @ 06:40
2. BBC Scotland News 29-09-10 @ 22:35