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From the Eye archives
Lockerbie Latest
Issue 1245, 15th September 2009
megrahi.jpg
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi
POLITICIANS on both sides of the Atlantic who have been outraged at the release of the mass-murdering “Lockerbie bomber” should take time to read the many hundreds of pages of evidence and argument in the case, expected to be released by his lawyers over the next few weeks.

Even the most vociferous critic might be left in some doubt about the conviction of Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, freed from a Scottish jail to die with his family in Libya, and suspect that the Libyan was the victim of the most dreadful miscarriage of justice.

The fact that the wrong man was in the dock was evident to those few independent observers who sat through the entire travesty of a trial in the Netherlands nearly 10 years ago. One of those was Dr Hans Kochler, appointed by the United Nations, who concluded: "There is not one single piece of material evidence linking [Megrahi] to the crime… the guilty verdict appears to be arbitrary, even irrational.”

Flawed and glaringly contradictory evidence
Kochler’s report was a damning indictment of the three Scottish trial judges who sat without a jury. The bulk of their judgment pointed to a not proven verdict – and then they convicted Megrahi anyway.

As Eye readers will know, there were alterations to crucial forensic exhibits supposedly linking Libya and Megrahi to the bomb, for which police and scientists could give no proper explanation; there was a succession of flawed and glaringly contradictory evidence from key witnesses, at least two of whom were paid by the CIA; there was evidence of the striking similarity to the modus operandi of a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist cell, operating out of Frankfurt, caught with devices equipped to bring down planes – one of which was missing. And then, of course, there was the crucial “identification” of Megrahi by Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the clothes identified as being packed in the suitcase with the bomb. In all his statements and evidence, Gauci only ever says that Megrahi bore a “resemblance” to the man who purchased the clothes – never that he was the man.

The judges performed a number of extraordinary leaps of logic to overcome these and all the other problems with the prosecution case, and it was evident to Dr Kochler even then that “foreign governments and secret governmental agencies”, directly or indirectly, influenced the trial.

More top stories in the latest issue:

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The PM says the NHS is the world’s best healthcare system – citing a survey done BEFORE the hated health and social care act came into force.

SELECTIVE SURVEY 2
Universities minister David Willetts relies on a duff Ofcom study of computer access to justify cutting the allowances of disabled students.

SICKNESS IN HEALTH
Monitor, the NHS regulator originally set up mostly with suits from McKinsey, shows its love of management consultants is undimmed.

HIS CONSCIENCE IS CLEAR?
Justice minister Simon Hughes, seen by some as the Lib Dems’ conscience, accepts a £6,450 constituency donation from… a convicted fraudster!

TURNCOAT TORY
Bill Etheridge, former Tory turned Ukip MEP, has a change of heart about the wonderful Nigel Farage, whom he once likened to a lunatic Col Blimp.

HAIN’S MANUAL
Despite ‘serious failures’ over his campaign funds when trying to become Labour deputy leader, Peter Hain bags a brace of lucrative top-up jobs.

MANSTON PICKLE
An ideological battle looms between the departments for transport and communities over the future of Manston Airport in Kent.

NEW LABOUR, NEW JOB
Former Blairite cabinet minister Lord (John) Hutton, late of the Department of Health, lands a job with a private firm touting for more NHS work.

UNFITNESS-TO-WORK
Atos, which carries out fitness-to-work tests, should be banned from more government contracts, MPs say, after it gave false information in a bid.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Will Ukip’s new intake of MEPs be any less of a waste of money and space in the European parliament than their cash-claiming absentee predecessors?


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