Lockerbie bomber’s conviction reviewed
The Lockerbie bomber could receive a fresh appeal after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) announced a full review of his conviction.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was sentenced to 27 years in jail in 2001 over the 1988 plane bombing that killed 270 people.
Six years after his death, the SCCRC will begin examining whether Megrahi’s case should receive another appeal that could lead to his conviction being overturned.
Megrahi had previously launched two appeals but abandoned the second one as he believed doing so would allow him to return to Libya while suffering from cancer.
SCCRC chief executive Gerard Sinclair said: “Having considered all the available evidence the Commission believes that Mr Megrahi, in abandoning his appeal, did so as he held a genuine and reasonable belief that such a course of action would result in him being able to return home to Libya, at a time when he was suffering from terminal cancer.
“On that basis, the Commission has decided that it is in the interests of justice to accept the current application for a full review of his conviction.”
All 259 people on board Pan Am flight 103 died on December 21, 1998 when a bomb exploded onboard.
Another 11 people on the ground lost their lives when sections of the aircraft crashed into residential areas of Lockerbie.
Megrahi was found guilty of 270 counts of murder in 2001.
In 2002, he lost an appeal against his conviction but the SCCRC recommended he should be granted a second five years later.
However, he dropped the case in 2009 after being released on compassionate grounds to allow him to return to Libya.
He died of cancer in 2012, aged 60.
Last July, Megrahi’s family lodged a posthumous appeal with the SCCRC with the aim of overturning his conviction.
In a statement, solicitor Aamer Anwar said: “We welcome the news today that the SCCRC, having considered all the available evidence, have confirmed that they believe that when Mr Megrahi abandoned his appeal, he did so as he believed he held a genuine and reasonable belief that such a course of action would result in him being able to return home to Libya, at a time when he was suffering from terminal cancer.
“The reputation of the Scottish law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi.
“It is in the interests of justice and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system that these doubts can be addressed, however the only place to determine whether a miscarriage of justice did occur is in the appeal court, where the evidence can be subjected to rigorous scrutiny.”