In an Editorial appearing in the July 5 edition of The Times, Magnus Linklater addresses the most recent effort by Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s family to appeal his conviction:
The family of Abdelbaset al_Megrahi are convinced that if they manage to get this third appeal into court, they will finally succeed in proving his innocence. They will point to the seven possible grounds of appeal highlighted by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commissio (SCCRC) and will claim that they represent a clear miscarriage of justice. A shaky and unreliable prosecution witness; doubts about the identification of Megrahi; suggestions that he was offered rewards to bend his evidence; withholding of information from the defence – all of these, they say, contributed to an unsafe conviction.
They face a daunting task in light of recent revelations that bolster the case against Megrahi:
Not only was Megrahi in Malta on the day in question, holding a false passport, he flew back to Libya just before that flight took off, and – here is the new evidence — alongside him on the return journey to Tripoli was a man who has subsequently been convicted in Libya of being a bomb-maker. That evidence was uncovered by Ken Dornstein, whose brother died in the attack, and who spent 15 years tracking down Abu Agela, a Libyan now serving a prison sentence for bomb-making offences.
It is quite hard to explain that away, unless of course you argue that the bomb did not in fact go on board in Malta, but was inserted elsewhere – in Frankfurt perhaps, or in London. Throughout the near 30 years of investigation into the Lockerbie case, however, no one has ever managed to provide concrete evidence that this is what happened.
The chances of this new appeal ever coming to court, five years after the death of al-Megrahi have to be counted as slim. If, however, it did, it would provide the last chance of finally testing this much-disputed evidence. That would indeed be a service to justice – but it might not turn out the way the Megrahi defenders are counting on.
Though the article resides behind a paywall, Linklater was kind enough to provide the article to the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103’s Facebook page.