Tuesday 21 December 2010

Lockerbie + 22 - the tangled web

On the 22nd anniversary of Britain’s worst ever terrorist outrage – the Lockerbie bombing – the only man ever convicted of it, the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, is said to be in a coma and close to death.

Later today, a US senator is due to unveil the results of his own personal inquiry into Megrahi’s compassionate release last year. What the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic seem desperate to prevent, though, is any inquiry into who really planted the bomb that blew up the Pan-Am jumbo.

Megrahi was released only after he agreed to drop his appeal against conviction, and ten days ago it was revealed that an 800 page dossier compiled by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, examining the flaws in the case against him, is to be kept under lock and key. The commission had identified at least six grounds for thinking Megrahi may have been wrongly convicted. The UK government has also rejected requests for a full public inquiry.

Dr Jim Swire, who daughter was one of the 270 victims of the bombing, believes Megrahi was released in order to prevent an appeal that the authorities might have found ‘very embarrassing’. Now two of the Libyan’s children say they are preparing to sue the powers-that-be in Scotland for wrongfully imprisoning their father. Will that lead to the issues finally being properly examined? Or will the authorities just pay up so they can maintain the silence? Come on Wikileaks!

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