Lockerbie bomber’s relatives try to clear his name
LONDON (AP) — The family of the only person convicted in the Lockerbie bombing joined relatives of the attack’s victims Thursday in demanding a fresh effort to overturn his murder conviction for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
Former Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Baset al-Megrahi long protested his innocence in the attack that killed 270 people, many of them Americans. But he dropped his appeal to clear the path for his early release on compassionate grounds. He died two years ago.
Certain that the truth has not yet emerged, two dozen British families applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to take a fresh look. Jim Swire, a leading voice for some of the British families, believes al-Megrahi was innocent.
“If you had a daughter aged 23 who was both beautiful and highly intelligent, and she was brutally murdered in a situation where it’s clear that the national protection security services had abysmally failed, do you not think that even 25 years later you might want to feel that you had a status in discovering the truth about who murdered her and why she was not protected?” Swire said.
Three volumes of papers were handed to the commission, which reviews alleged miscarriages of justice. The commission will decide whether to review the Lockerbie case.
The families say the appeal is based in part on new evidence suggesting that al-Megrahi was pressured to drop his appeal. Though governments in London and Edinburgh have denied it, accusations have long swirled that London sought his release to protect business interests in oil-rich Libya.
Leaked U.S. diplomatic memos showed Tripoli had warned that if al-Megrahi died in a Scottish prison, all British commercial activity in Libya would be cut off.
The bomb blew up the New York-bound Boeing 747 flew over the Scottish town of Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1988. Many of the victims were American college students flying home for Christmas.