Letter of the day: Governments must let families of victims know who they believe carried out Lockerbie atrocity
I AM grateful to Kim Sengupta for his article (Saturday Review, December 29). Like Kim, I was privileged to meet Baset Al-Megrahi in Tripoli just before his death in 2012, by which time we had become good friends. Years before, I had met him while he was in prison at Greenock in Scotland for a crime I knew he had not committed.
Kim's article mentions many who were sufficiently involved to become convinced, like myself and Fr Keegans, that this man had been wrongly convicted.
For those of us relatives who know this to be the case, it adds sorely to the burden of bereavement to know that those with the authority, power and knowledge to overturn this verdict, simply will not thus far act.
We, the direct relatives, surely have the right to know the truth as to all that our governments know about the real perpetrators and why the atrocity at Lockerbie was not prevented.
I promised Megrahi's family I would do all I could to free them from the burden of the epithet of "the Lockerbie bomber's family". I also met Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill just before Megrahi's release, when I was able to beg him to let a man I knew to be innocent be free to go home to die among his family. He has since admitted he is not happy with aspects of the evidence used against Baset.
Unfortunately, the Scottish High Court has ruled that we relatives of some of the victims have no locus to request further review of the evidence through a fresh appeal. It is to be fervently hoped that 2019 will see Megrahi's family granted a further full appeal.
It is not that there is nicely balanced evidence for and against the verdict: there is now an overwhelming preponderance of material which confirms that Megrahi was not involved, but that failures in the way warnings were handled by the Thatcher government of the day - and at Heathrow, in particular - allowed the bomb to be ingested there.
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Like Baset, Air Malta and Frankfurt airport need to be excluded from blame. Let's admit we got it disastrously wrong and plan for a safer future.
DR JIM SWIRE
(daughter Flora murdered at Lockerbie)
Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire