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Offbeat Lockerbie attack: the family of the only convict wants to prove his innocence

17:15  24 november  2020
17:15  24 november  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only man ever convicted of the worst terrorist attack in UK history. Eight years after his death, his family are still trying to get his conviction overturned. More than three decades after the Lockerbie bombing an appeal has been again been referred to the High Court.

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  Attentat de Lockerbie: la famille de l'unique condamné veut prouver son innocence © Provided by Le Point

The family of the only one convicted of the murderous Lockerbie attack in 1988, the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, hopes to prove his innocence with the posthumous appeal against his life sentence, which the Scottish courts began examining on Tuesday.

Due to the pandemic, five judges of the High Court of Justice in Edinburgh, Scotland's highest criminal court, are examining by video conference until Friday the appeal brought by the family of the Libyan, now deceased. A decision will be made later.

"There is finally hope that we come to the end of a very long road, in almost 32 years of (families) fighting for truth and justice," commented Aamer Anwar, the family lawyer. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is assisting with his team in the proceedings from Glasgow.

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Lawyers acting for the family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the bombing, believe the documents The Megrahi family lawyers insist the documents could have opened up significant new lines of inquiry and helped prove Megrahi’s innocence if they had been released before his trial.

Agent of the Libyan intelligence services, al-Megrahi had always claimed his innocence. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 by a special Scottish court established on neutral ground in the Netherlands, with a minimum of 27 years, for the bombing of the Pan Am Boeing 747.

The aircraft, which was on the London-New York route, exploded on December 21, 1988 over Lockerbie, killing 270 people, including many Americans and Britons - 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 residents of the Scottish town in total.

This is the deadliest attack ever committed on the territory of the United Kingdom.

"271st victim"

Megrahi was released in 2009 on medical grounds and died in 2012 at the age of 60 in his country, where he was greeted as a hero.

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Scotland's top prosecutor says there is no evidence to suggest Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is innocent . They have also alleged Libya was "framed" over the bombing, and that a fragment of the bomb's timer was either planted or manipulated to implicate the North African country

The death on Sunday of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person to be convicted of the Lockerbie In reality, the death of the man who pleaded his innocence right up until the very end changes little. If the evidence provided at the trial is correct, Megrahi carried out the attack using his own passport

The son of the Libyan, who was 8 years old during his father's trial, "says that until his last breath, he maintained his innocence," Aamer Anwar said in a statement. "The Megrahi consider their father to be Lockerbie's 271st victim".

In March, seized by the Libyan family, the Scottish Criminal Convictions Review Commission (SRRC) decided to appeal to the High Court of Justice, not ruling out a "miscarriage of justice".

This commission considered that the verdict was "unreasonable" because of the weakness of the evidence produced to hold Megrahi guilty.

In August, the High Court agreed to consider the family's appeal on the merits.

"For Megrahi's family and many British victims' families also supporting the appeal, a review of the verdict would support their view that the US and UK governments (...) have lived in a monumental lie for 31 years, imprisoning a man that they knew was innocent, ”insisted lawyer Aamer Anwar.

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Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of Britain’s worst terrorist attack , dropped his appeal when he was He was the head of the PFLP-GC and was allegedly recruited by the Iranians because of his “ The families are going to launch a further appeal against the conviction of Megrahi with the Scottish

Families of some of the 270 people killed in the Lockerbie airline bombing have welcomed news that two new Libyan suspects have been His family and some relatives of the Scottish victims believe he was wrongly convicted . As regards the new Libyan suspects, questioning them may prove difficult.

Secret documents

Representatives of the Megrahi family regret the confirmation by the High Court on Friday of a decision by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to prevent the disclosure of classified documents relating to the appeal during the examination of the appeal. the case, on the grounds that "it would cause real damage to the national security of the United Kingdom", particularly in the area of ​​anti-terrorism.

According to The Guardian newspaper, these documents would evoke the involvement, in the making of the bomb, of a Jordanian intelligence agent within the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-CG).

During the trial in 2001, the judges rejected a theory implicating Iran, Syria and this pro-Syrian Palestinian group, which allegedly acted in retaliation for the accidental destruction of an Iranian plane by an American missile in July 1988, killing 290 people.

These documents are essential for the appeal, according to lawyer Aamer Anwar, who warned: "We intend to disclose important material about the role of individuals, nations and their politicians, because there can never be a time limit for justice or for the truth to emerge. "

A first appeal from Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was rejected in 2002. Once seized for the first time, the SCCRC had estimated in 2007 that he should be able to benefit from a new appeal but the convicted person renounced it in 2009.

24 / 11/2020 12:46:44 - Glasgow (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

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