Lockerbie bombing; Appeal at High Court
The families want to pursue a miscarriage of justice appeal on behalf of relatives of the man convicted of the bombing, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. He died of cancer in May 2012. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has asked the high court to establish if the families of the victims can be classed as persons with a legitimate interest.
The lawyer for the families says they maintain that they have as much a right to pursue an appeal as the Megrahi family because they also believe the wrong person was convicted. In December Scotland’s top prosecutor reaffirmed his belief that Megrahi was guilty of killing 270 people in the bombing. Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor had ever raised concerns about the evidence used to convict Megrahi.
Megrahi’s part in the bombing has been called into question in a series of books and documentaries. And a petition seeking “Justice for Megrahi”, backed by politicians and family members of some victims, remains on the Scottish Parliament’s books. Supporters of Megrahi, who was said by the FBI to have been a Libyan intelligence officer, have claimed that Scottish prosecutors ignored evidence that the bomb was put on board the flight at Heathrow rather than in Malta.
They have also alleged Libya was “framed” over the bombing, and that a fragment of the bomb’s timer was either planted or manipulated to implicate the North African country and to turn attention away from Syria and Iran.The Pan Am flight exploded at 31,000ft over Lockerbie, in the south of Scotland, on 21 December 1988. As well as 259 people on board the aircraft, 11 residents of Lockerbie died on the ground as a result of a giant fireball caused when a wing holding thousands of gallons of fuel exploded on impact. The Scottish government released Megrahi on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live. He returned to Libya, where he died in May 2012, still protesting his innocence.