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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:

BANK ON HIM…
Sajid Javid may not know much about “culture”, but the promotion of the former Deutsche Bank MD gives the City a useful ally in cabinet.

EYE TOLD YOU SO…
Yes, the Pension Protection Fund’s purchase of struggling UK Coal to help it cover its pension deficit was a fudge of benefit only to lawyers who dreamed it up.

PRAISE BE TO GEORGE
Gavel Basher on the Tory MPs who fawned over their chancellor when the Treasury committee met to quiz him mercilessly on the Budget.

CUTTING REMARKS
Why universities minister David Willetts’ plan to reduce help for students with disabilities will only discourage universities from recruiting them.

DEVIL IN THE DETAIL
An extra £300m for councils to build homes sounds promising – but the fine print reveals a big bias towards “affordable” rather than “social” rents.


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