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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:

CROWN JEWELS
The Eye identifies 120 former Crown Estate properties that, via sale of their leaseholds, have ended up in 14 offshore tax havens.

WAGES OF SPIN
FTSE chief exec Ruby McGregor-Smith says she’s a ‘role model’ for women – but one of her firms pays care staff less than the minimum wage.

DEEPCUT DELAYS
Claims of a cover-up threaten to engulf new inquiries into the death of army recruit Cheryl James, who died of gunshot wounds at Deepcut barracks.

PENSIONS POTTY
Government claims that oldies cashing in on new pension freedoms are being offered lots of good advice are so much nonsense.

WHISTLEBLOWING U-TURN
Why Barts NHS Trust has reinstated a union official and whistleblower it sacked 18 months ago and against whom it waged a costly legal battle.

BENCH MARKS
Chris Grayling provokes outrage sneaking through new court charges that may put pressure on the innocent but hard-up to plead to guilty.

private eye issue 1390
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 1389
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