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From the Eye archives
Lockerbie Latest
Issue 1245, 15th September 2009
megrahi.jpg
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi
The break-in at Heathrow
It was supposedly a Scottish prosecution, but two US prosecutors sat alongside the prosecution team and appeared to Dr Kochler to be “supervisors” influencing what was released into open court and what was kept secret. Said Dr Kochler: "It was a consistent pattern during the whole trial. As an apparent result of political interest considerations, efforts were undertaken to withhold substantial information from the court.”

More evidence has since emerged – such as a break-in at Heathrow near the Pan Am bay shortly before the flight took off, which was concealed from the trial. This might have explained evidence that was given at the trial by a baggage handler who said he saw that an extra Samsonite briefcase (like the one experts said contained the bomb) had been placed on top of a baggage container destined for the flight while he had left it unattended when he went for his tea.

Governments are still influencing the case
Further evidence, which the Scottish criminal cases review commission (SCCRC) has seen, and which formed one of the six grounds that it cited pointing to the fact that the wrong man had been convicted, remains secret. Even now, 20 years down the line, the government is still claiming public interest immunity on evidence that the SCCRC said should never have been withheld.

With Megrahi’s agreement to drop his appeal and his resulting release, it is clear that governments are still influencing the case. If Britain’s new best friend, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and his government have been welcoming Megrahi back in a way that seems to have offended so many commentators, it is because they owe him. He was a step in their country’s rehabilitation with the west.

As the Eye has said ever since we predicted that the appeal would not be heard, it suits none of the administrations – the US, the UK or Libya – to have the case reopened. The forthcoming release of the papers by Tony Kelly, Megrahi’s Glasgow-based solicitor, should prove that the Libyan was not responsible for the atrocity in the skies over Lockerbie. The papers will not prove, however, who was responsible, nor why the chance to bring the real bombers to justice was so evidently botched – or, worse, deliberately sabotaged. That is what the politicians should really be shouting about.

More top stories in the latest issue:

THE DINNER MONITORS
Emails between McKinsey and Monitor reveal how close and convivial the relationship is between the pro-privatisation consultancy and NHS regulator.

NATWEST BRANCHES OUT
How the freeholds of 80 NatWest branches from Ilfracombe to Colwyn Bay ended up being owned in Gibraltar (and saving RBS stamp duty land tax.)

PESTER POWER
Schools are pressurising parents to buy or lease iPads for their children to use in class and after school… but what about those who can’t afford it?

LOST IN TRANSITION
The crisis in mental health care for vulnerable teenagers who transfer to adult units is starkly illustrated by the tragic death of Rebecca Overy.

SLEEPING PARTNERS
Staff from Capita subsidiary Tascor are caught snoozing on the job while supposedly escorting deportees back to Albania and Kosovo

TROUBLE BREWING
US brewer Molson Coors wins permission to build houses on a sports ground in Alton – and promptly announces closure of its local brewery too.

A VERY BRUM DO
Why Treasury-approved figures justifying a new £360m hospital PFI in Birmingham had to be fiddled to make them add up. Which they don’t.

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
The pub tie is dead! Er, long live the pub tie! How Fleet Street hacks fell for pub company propaganda… and why publicans still face a bitter future.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY
Why a family worried about the safety of their 93-year-old father had to remove him from the troubled Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend.

SHARIA SHIFT
After a campaign by the Eye, Asian women’s groups and secular lawyers, the Law Society drops its discriminatory advice to solicitors on sharia law.

private eye issue 1381
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