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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:

REVOLVING FLAWS
Despite a lobbying ban, ex-cabinet minister turned business adviser Lord Strathclyde has been talking to government officials, the Eye learns.

FAMILY FORTUNES
Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom’s generous brother-in-law, offshore hedgie Peter de Putron, schmoozes Jeremy Hunt as the NHS opens for business.

CRYSTAL PALS
How Tory connections are helping a scheme backed by the London mayor which would allow Chinese developers to take over Crystal Palace Park.

DEFENCE NEWS
US companies lick their lips as defence secretary Michael Fallon prepares to flog off the UK’s much valued Defence Support Group for a song.

YOU CAN BET ON HIM…
Why the big gambling companies love Tory MP Philip Davies and can’t stop offering him hospitality.

LEGAL BEAGLE
‘I’m not legalistic’ says stumbling Tory MP Mike Penning, the minister with ‘strategic oversight of the criminal justice system’. Perhaps he should be?

CALLED TO ORDURE
How HS2 is buying off members of the public before they give evidence to MPs now scrutinising the high-speed rail bill.


private eye issue 1378
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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Private Eye Issue 1377
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