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Issue 1245
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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:

WILL SCHILLINGS COIN IT?
When a blogger in an obscure country writes about obscure things, it usually remains obscure. But not when defamation specialists Schillings get involved.

FOSSIL FUELS
UK Export Finance's PR material suggests its pledge to back green technologies is going well. Examining its records reveals a different picture.

ROYAL NAVY LARK
The Ministry of Defence is about to spend more than £1bn on a botch-job that will not even address the main issue with the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers.

BRASSED OFF
A Companies House paper obtained by the Eye gives a glimpse of how Britain's corporate wild west remains the heart of world money laundering.

TO RUSSIA WITH BROTHERLY LOVE
How the Candy brothers split their business into offshore and onshore arms in 2004, and how that might continue to interest the taxman.

BRIBE FUTURE AHEAD
An OECD report on the UK's efforts to tackle corruption confirms what the Eye has long said: the government has talked a good game but played a poor one.

To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here. For all the latest news you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 2nd May 2017.
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Trump bombs Broadchurch... Thank God Trump now resembles the great presidents of the past, says everyone... Pravdeye: An apology... Boris Johnson writes exclusively... Livingstone's shock new historical claim... Manilow shock announcement... Liam Gallagher's Diary, as tweeted to Craig Brown

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- Libel News: Justice Warby's hard line on Katie Hopkins' lawyers
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Private Eye Issue 1441