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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:

MILLER’S TRAIL
Campaigners welcome a new Commons committee on women and equalities – until they learn Maria Miller, ex-minister for disabled people, is to chair it.

MAIDEN VOYAGE
Pensions minister Baroness (Ros) Altmann’s maiden speech to peers is light on modesty and transparency about her well-paid past as a pension trustee.

COMMITTEE RESHUFFLE
After losing interest in justice, is ex-attorney-general Dominic Grieve now in line to chair the intelligence and security committee instead?

RETURN OF THE BARRON KNIGHT
Labour’s financially canny Sir Kevin Barron is fittingly reelected to chair the Commons’ notorious double-standards and privileges committee.

CALLED TO ORDURE
Gavel Basher on the political rejects, agenda grinders and deadbeats opining on the Queen’s speech in the House of Lords.

NEW BOYS AND GIRLS
Meet Ian Blackford, new SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lachaber – no friend to the late lamented Charles Kennedy, from whom he won his seat in May.

TUC NEWS
Len McCluskey’s warring Unite trade union is under embarrassing scrutiny thanks to a spat among airline flight attendants.


private eye issue 1395
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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