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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:

PENSION FEE-FOR-ALL
Proven mis-sellers are among those lining up to pounce on cash-rich pensioners next year, all thanks to George Osborne’s new annuity rules.

ANOTHER MoD CON?
Defence IT programmes have been a monumental disaster… so why are discredited contractors in line for yet more business from the MoD?

SCIENCE LESSONS
The British embassy in Stockholm seeks an intern to work on UK science projects – but only if he or she can find a sponsor. Perhaps Beijing or Moscow could stump up?

MISPLACED TRUST
If the PM is so keen to crack ‘the walls of corporate secrecy’, why does his planned company register ignore trusts, favoured tool of the funny money brigade?

SELL-OFF OF THE CENTURY?
Big question marks hang over the future of social housing as think tank policy wonks vie to help the Tories dream up Right to Buy Mk II.

GENERATION RENT
The former Tory housing minister now moonlighting for a private landlord who wants to build flats for renters (but not social housing tenants).


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To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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