Sunday 23 April 2017

Megrahi: Second appeal by Megrahi family

The family of wrongly convicted Libyan Baset al-Megrahi are to request a second appeal. 

Baset al-Megrahi: Died in 2012.
Until now, the chaos in Libya following the 2011 NATO destruction of the country has made matters complex and difficult for the family.

Today, however, it has been announced that the Megrahi family, in a recent Zurich meeting with lawyer Aamer Anwar, agreed the terms of an official request to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). That request is to be delivered to the Commission "within days". 

Suspect bomb timer fragment
The new grounds for appeal include ­questions over the integrity of evidence ­produced by the Crown at the original trial. They will re-examine the provenance of a circuit board fragment said to have been found seventeen miles from the crash site. Questions will also be raised concerning a supposed purchase of clothes by Megrahi from a shop in Malta owned
Gauci: Key identification witness.
by key identification witness Tony Gauci.
In 2007. after a three year investigation, the SCCRC ruled that ­Megrahi’s conviction was potentially a miscarriage of justice. They discovered six reasons for that conclusion. Their six reasons did not include scientific information since discovered in relation to the bomb timer fragment. But because of severe difficulties and uncertain systems of government in Libya, the family's circumstances have so far prevented an appeal request.
In 2016 British victims’ relatives, led by Dr Jim Swire, tried to have the conviction overturned posthumously but the SCCRC ruled they could only re-examine matters if requested by the family.
Following secret meetings in Zurich, attended by members of the family, lawyer Aamer Anwar, Jim Swire and MEBO director Edwin Bollier, that barrier has been overcome.
Al-Megrahi's widow Aisha said: “I wish to pursue this appeal in my husband’s name to have his ­conviction overturned, to clear his name and to clear the name of my family. The world will say sorry to my husband and my family one day. That’s all I wish to say.”
Ali al-Megrahi
Megrahi's son Ali, 22, added: “I still feel bad that my father was innocent and locked up in prison for so many years. I lost my father and although nobody can bring him back, I still want justice for him. I’m sure that, with the new appeal, my father’s name will be cleared from all ­allegations."
"The Lockerbie affair hit my family very, very hard and we’re looking forward to the day that Scottish justice prevails and that we can live in peace again.
“We hope the authorities of Scotland will make it possible to correct the controversial verdict and give all the families who lost loved ones, including ours, real justice.”
Lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “The Lockerbie case has often been described as the worst miscarriage of justice in British legal ­history.
“A reversal of the verdict would mean that the governments of the United States and the UK would be accused of having lived a monumental lie for over a quarter of a century and having imprisoned a man they knew to be innocent for the worst mass murder on British soil.
“The reputation of our criminal ­justice system has suffered at home and internationally because of the widespread doubts over the conviction of al-Megrahi. The only place those doubts can truly be addressed are in the Court of Appeal.”
MacAskill: Willing to give evidence.
The former Scottish Minister for Justice, Kenny MacAskill has promised to come forward if asked. “If I am called to give evidence, I will give evidence. Due ­process will take place and I will fully co-operate.”
Jim Swire in a ruined Tripoli.
Dr Swire expressed his hopes for a new appeal: “Shortly before Megrahi died, I met him in Tripoli and reassured him I would still do everything I could to clear his name. I am delighted that this request for an appeal is now to be placed before the SCCRC.”