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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:

JUNCKER’S GIFT
Why the choice of ex-PR man Lord (Jonathan) Hill as the next European commissioner for financial services is a gift to British banks.

COSY BUSINESS AS USUAL
Treasury committee MPs learn that the relationship between the banks, big accountants and regulators is riddled with potential conflicts of interest.

GOOD EVANS…
MP Nigel Evans, cleared of rape and sexual assault charges in April, gave a series of media interviews – which he’s being paid for until next June. Curious!

PREZZA IN POLAND
When he’s not on the stump in Scotland or tweeting madly, Labour’s John Prescott is busy on a Council of Europe jolly to Slupsk in Poland. But why?

LIB DEM LAMENT
It’s not looking good for Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Lib Dem with his heart set on Mike ‘Handy’ Hancock’s once safe seat in Portsmouth South.

IN THE COURT OF KING VAZ
Gavel Basher hears Keith Vaz’s home affairs select committee duff up a quintet of public servants involved in the Rotherham child-abuse scandal.


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