Members of the Scottish Parliament will “watch with
interest” the planned bid by the family of the man convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, to mount a renewed second appeal against his conviction.
|Megrahi's widow Aisha
(Manchester Evening News)
The case is expected to be handed in the near future to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review
Commission (SCCRC) which investigates possible miscarriages of justice and will decide whether there are grounds for a second referral to the appeal court.
|Dr Jim Swire, Son Ali al-Megrahi,
Lawyer Aamer Anwar
The SCCRC has already ruled, in its 2007 assessment of the case that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred". The ruling was based on six reasons,
including the with-holding of key evidence by the chief police investigator of the case. [See our previous posts for additional grounds for this further appeal]
Following that 2007 ruling, Baset al-Megrahi mounted
a second appeal. Due, however, to the onset of terminal cancer, he withdrew his appeal in exchange for release in 2009 on compassionate grounds by Scottish Minister for Justice Kenny MacAskill.
Police withheld evidence.
In addition to the matter of this new appeal, MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee agreed to keep open a long-running petition from Justice for Megrahi (JFM) campaigners calling for an independent inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction. The inquiry will include events in Europe and security misjudgments and lapses at Heathrow Airport prior to and immediately following the 1988 bombing attack.
In a written submission, JFM campaigners said reports of the planned appeal bid indicate “a significant development for those pursuing the truth about Lockerbie”.
MSP Committee convener Margaret Mitchell said: “Recently publicity suggests that the family of Mr Megrahi will launch a bid to appeal against his conviction in the coming weeks so we will watch that with interest and see if that affects where we go from here.” (...)
Al-Megrahi's widow Aisha and son Ali are expected to present to the SCCRC concerns over the evidence which convicted Megrahi, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.