Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Son of Lockerbie bomber ‘100%’ sure of innocence as new appeal bid launched

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is re-examining the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

The son of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has said he is “100% certain” his father was innocent, as his family lodged a new bid to appeal against his conviction five years after his death.

Relatives of victims joined lawyer Aamer Anwar to hand files to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the 1988 atrocity which killed 270 people. He was jailed for 27 years but died of prostate cancer aged 60 in 2012 after being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

He lost an appeal against his conviction in 2002, with the SCCRC recommending in 2007 that he should be granted a second appeal.

bpanews_2b9c656a-36cb-4bee-8854-96a1db58704d_embedded697315
The wrecked nose section of the Pan-Am Boeing 747 (PA)

He dropped the second attempt to overturn his conviction in 2009, ahead of his return to Libya, but his widow Aisha and son Ali met Mr Anwar late last year to discuss a posthumous appeal.

The SCCRC will now decide whether there are grounds to refer the case to the appeal court.

Ali Megrahi, 22, said: “The launch of the application for an appeal on behalf of the Megrahi family is a milestone on the road to prove that the verdict against my father was unsafe. I trust that the Scottish authorities will correct this unjust verdict.

“When my father returned to Libya, I spent most of my time next to him and had the opportunity to talk to him as much as possible before he passed away. I am 100% certain that he was innocent and not the so-called Lockerbie bomber. Thank-you to all those people who have made today possible.”

Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora, Rev John Mosey, whose daughter Helga was killed, and Geoff and Ann Mann, who lost her brother John, his wife and their two children, joined Mr Anwar at the SCCRC offices.

Dr Swire said: “As the father of Flora, I still ache for her, what might have been, the grandchildren she would have had, the love she always gave us and the glowing medical career.

bpanews_2b9c656a-36cb-4bee-8854-96a1db58704d_embedded697295
Dr Jim Swire's daughter was killed in the plane crash (Danny Lawson/PA)

“It has always been and remains my intent to see those responsible for her death brought to justice.

“I feel encouraged and optimistic that this may mark the start of another step towards discovering the truth about our families, why they were murdered and in particular why their lives were not protected in all the circumstances.”

It is believed the new appeal bid is based on concerns over the evidence that convicted the Libyan, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.

bpanews_2b9c656a-36cb-4bee-8854-96a1db58704d_embedded697330
The scene of devastation in Lockerbie in 1988 (PA)

Gerard Sinclair, chief executive of the SCCRC, said: “As it does in every case, the commission will now give careful consideration to this new application.

“In particular, we will immediately be looking to see that this fresh application fully addresses the matters which we identified as missing from the application in 2015 and in particular provides access to the original appeal papers from Mr Megrahi’s solicitors.

“If the commission accepts the application for a full review, there are several important considerations which will affect the timescale within which we will be able to deal with this matter, including any new lines of inquiry and the fact that the membership of the board has completely changed since the original referral in 2007.”

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph