Lockerbie bomber release


Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2008
The real reason for the release of this "terrorist"

"..Back in 1988-89, Western intelligence services saw the bombing of Pan Am 103 as an act of revenge. The US warship Vincennes had shot down an Iranian Airbus five months before, killing all 290 passengers, and the Iranians were getting even.

(The US was then secretly backing Saddam Hussein's war against Iran, and the Vincennes, operating illegally in Iranian territorial waters, shot down the airliner thinking that it was an Iranian fighter.)

There was some evidence for this "Iranian revenge" theory. In 1989 German police found the same kind of bomb that brought down Pan Am 103 in a house in Frankfurt that were used by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command. This organisation was based in Syria, and Syria and Iran were allies, so maybe ...

But then, in 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Washington needed Arab countries like Syria to join the war against Saddam so the liberation of Kuwait looked like a truly international effort. Syria's price for sending troops was removal from America's most-wanted list. Suddenly Syria was no longer the prime suspect in the Pan Am case - and if Syria was out, so was Iran.

But more Americans died on Pan Am 103 than in any other terrorist attack before 9/11. Somebody had to take the fall. Libya was the obvious candidate, because it had supported various terrorist attacks in the past.

Soon new evidence began to appear. It pointed to al-Megrahi, who had been working as a security officer for Libyan Arab Airlines in Malta in 1988. A Maltese shopkeeper identified him as the man who bought children's clothing like that found in the suitcase that contained the bomb that brought down Pan Am 103.

It was pretty flimsy evidence, but Colonel Gaddafi, Libya's ruler, was desperate to end the Western trade embargo against his country. He never admitted blame in the Pan Am affair, but he handed al-Megrahi and a colleague over for trial in a Western court.

Al-Megrahi's trial took place in 2001. His colleague was freed, but he was jailed for 27 years (in Scotland, because Pan Am 103 came down in Lockerbie). As time passed, however, the case began to unravel.

The Maltese shopkeeper who had identified al-Megrahi, Tony Gauci, turned out to be living in Australia, supported by several million dollars the Americans had paid him for his evidence.

The allegation the timer for the bomb had been supplied to Libya by the Swiss manufacturer Mebo turned out to be false. The owner of Mebo, Edwin Bollier, revealed that he had turned down an offer of $4 million from the FBI in 1991 to testify that he had sold his MST-13 timers to Libya.

One of Bollier's former employees, Ulrich Lumpert, did testify at al-Megrahi's trial that MST-13 timers had been supplied to Libya - but in 2007 he admitted he had lied at the trial.

And this year it was revealed Pan Am's baggage area at London's Heathrow airport was broken into 17 hours before Pan Am 103 took off. (The police knew that 12 years ago, but kept it secret at al-Megrahi's trial.) The theory the fatal bag was put on a feeder flight from Malta became even less likely.

All of which explains why the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission announced in 2007 that it would refer al-Megrahi's case to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh because he "may have suffered a miscarriage of justice".

The review commission's decision caused a crisis, because a new court hearing would reveal how shoddy the evidence was. Happily for London and Washington, al-Megrahi was now dying of cancer, so a deal was possible.

He would give up his plea for a retrial, no dirty linen about the original trial would be aired in public, and he would be set free.

A miserable story, but hardly a unique one. A man who was probably innocent of the charges against him, a loyal servant of the Libyan state who was framed by the West and hung out to dry by his own Government, has been sent home to die.

Comrade Stalin


Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2008
Predictably, a senior member of the WarParty has used the occasion to buff up his credentials.

"...Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on Wednesday issued the following statement regarding the Scottish government's decision to release Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, from prison:

"Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was convicted of killing 270 innocent people after a fair trial and was given ample opportunities to appeal his case. The man who committed these awful crimes should not be allowed to walk free. The Pan Am 103 victims deserve compassion – not Mr. al-Megrahi.

Releasing Mr. al-Megrahi also sends the wrong message about the consequences of international terrorism and increases the threat of terror in the United States, the United Kingdom and around the world."
The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 caused the deaths of 270 people-including 189 Americans. In 2001, following a trial in the Netherlands al-Megrahi was convicted of the crime and sentenced to a minimum prison sentence of 27 years in Scotland.

On August 17, 2009, Lautenberg wrote a letter with the support of six of his Senate colleagues to Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill calling for Abdel Basset al-Megrahi to remain in a Scottish prison and complete his sentence...

Comrade Stalin


Well-Known Member
Apr 4, 2008
The phrase "given ample opportunities to appeal his case" that was used by Lautenberg is not quite correct.

'...Megrahi's appeal against his conviction at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial in January 2001 was refused on 14 March 2002 by a panel of five Scottish Judges at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.[11] According to a report by the BBC,[12] Dr Hans Köchler, one of the UN observers at the trial, expressed serious doubts about the fairness of the proceedings and spoke of a "spectacular miscarriage of justice".[13]

On 24 November 2003 Megrahi appeared at the High Court in Glasgow, in front of the three Judges who originally sentenced him at Camp Zeist, to learn that he would have to serve at least 27 years in jail – back-dated to April 1999 when he was extradited from Libya – before he could be considered for parole. This court hearing was the result of the incorporation into Scots law of the European Convention on Human Rights in 2001, nine months after Megrahi's sentence was imposed, which required him to be told the extent of the "punishment part" of his life term. On 31 May 2004 he was granted leave to appeal against his 27-year sentence.[14] The appeal against sentence was scheduled to be heard in Edinburgh by a panel of five Judges on 11 July 2006. However, the Scottish Court of Criminal Appeal decided to postpone the July hearing to allow consideration of whether the appeal against sentence ought to be heard at Camp Zeist rather than in Edinburgh.[15]


On 23 September 2003 lawyers acting for Megrahi applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) for a review of the case (both sentence and conviction), arguing that there had been a miscarriage of justice. On 1 November 2006 Megrahi was reported to have dropped his demand for the new appeal to be held at Camp Zeist.[16] In an interview with The Scotsman newspaper of 31 January 2006, retired Scottish Judge Lord MacLean – one of the three who convicted Megrahi in 2001 – said he believed the SCCRC would return the case for a further appeal against conviction:

"They can't be working for two years without producing something with which to go to the court."

MacLean added that any new appeal would indicate the flexibility of Scots law, rather than a weakness:

"It might even be the strength of the system – it is capable of looking at itself subsequently and determining a ground for appeal."

In January 2007, the SCCRC announced that it would issue its decision on Megrahi's case by the end of June 2007.[17] On 9 June 2007 rumours of a possible prisoner swap deal involving Megrahi were strenuously denied by prime minister, Tony Blair.[18] Later in June, The Observer confirmed the imminence of the SCCRC ruling and reported:

"Abdelbaset al-Megrahi never wavered in his denial of causing the Lockerbie disaster: now some Scottish legal experts say they believe him."[19]

Second appeal

On 28 June 2007 the SCCRC concluded its four-year review and, having uncovered evidence that a miscarriage of justice could have occurred, the Commission granted Megrahi leave to appeal against his Lockerbie bombing conviction for a second time.[20] The second appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal was abandoned in August 2009, as an impediment to the legal power to release him to Libya under the Prisoner Transfer Scheme then operating in the United Kingdom. Ultimately, he was not released under this scheme, rather, on compassionate grounds due to his ill health. There was in the event, no requirement to drop his appeal against conviction.

New information casting fresh doubts about Megrahi's conviction was examined at a procedural hearing at the Judicial Appeal Court (Court of Session building) in Edinburgh on 11 October 2007:

1. His lawyers claimed that vital documents, which emanated from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and related to the Mebo timer that allegedly detonated the Lockerbie bomb, were withheld from the trial defence team.[21]
2. Tony Gauci, chief prosecution witness at the trial, was alleged to have been paid $2 million for testifying against Megrahi.[22]
3. Mebo's owner, Edwin Bollier, claimed that in 1991 the FBI offered him $4 million to testify that the timer fragment found near the scene of the crash was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya.[23]
4. Former employee of Mebo, Ulrich Lumpert, swore an affidavit in July 2007 that he had stolen a prototype MST-13 timer in 1989, and had handed it over to "a person officially investigating the Lockerbie case".[24]

On 1 November 2007 Megrahi invited Professor Robert Black QC to visit him at Her Majesty's Prison, Greenock. After a 2-hour meeting, Black stated "that not only was there a wrongful conviction, but the victim of it was an innocent man. Lawyers, and I hope others, will appreciate this distinction."[25]

Prior to Megrahi's second appeal, another four procedural hearings took place at the High Court of Appeal in Edinburgh between December 2007 and June 2008.[26][27]

In the June 2008 edition of the Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm, the UN Observer at the Lockerbie trial, Professor Hans Köchler, referred to the 'totalitarian' nature of Megrahi's second appeal process saying it "bears the hallmarks of an 'intelligence operation'."[28][29] Pointing out an error on the FCO's website and accusing the British government of "delaying tactics" in relation to Megrahi's second Lockerbie appeal, UN Observer at the Lockerbie trial Dr Hans Köchler wrote to Foreign Secretary David Miliband on 21 July 2008 saying:[30]

As international observer, appointed by the United Nations, at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands I am also concerned about the Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificate which has been issued by you in connection with the new Appeal of the convicted Libyan national. Withholding of evidence from the Defence was one of the reasons why the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred Mr. Al-Megrahi’s case back to the High Court of Justiciary. The Appeal cannot go ahead if the Government of the United Kingdom, through the PII certificate issued by you, denies the Defence the right (also guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights) to have access to a document which is in the possession of the Prosecution. How can there be equality of arms in such a situation? How can the independence of the judiciary be upheld if the executive power interferes into the appeal process in such a way?

The FCO corrected the error on its website and wrote to Köchler on 27 August 2008:[31]

"Ultimately, it will be for the Court to decide whether the material should be disclosed, not the Foreign Secretary."

On 15 October 2008, five Scottish judges decided unanimously to reject a submission by the Crown Office to the effect that the scope of Megrahi's second appeal should be limited to the specific grounds of appeal that were identified by the SCCRC in June 2007.[32]

In January 2009, it was reported that, although Megrahi's second appeal against conviction was scheduled to begin on 27 April 2009, the hearing could last as long as 12 months because of the complexity of the case and volume of material to be examined.[33] At a preliminary High Court hearing in Edinburgh on 20 February 2009, Megrahi's Counsel, Maggie Scott QC, was informed that a delegation from the Crown Office was due to travel to Malta to "actively seek the consent for disclosure" of sensitive documents that could determine the outcome of the second appeal.[34]

Scottish ministers denied in April 2009 they had clandestinely agreed to the repatriation of Megrahi before the start of his second appeal on 28 April.[35]

Call for Megrahi's release

On 14 September 2008, the Arab League Ministerial Council passed a resolution calling for the 'political hostage' Megrahi to be released from prison in Scotland. The resolution demanded that the UK government should hand to Megrahi's lawyers the documents which the SCCRC had identified, adding that Britain's refusal to do so represented a 'miscarriage of justice'. The Arab League also endorsed Libya's right to compensation for the damage done to its economy by UN sanctions which were in force from 1991 until 1999.[36]

On 6 November 2008, three Criminal Appeal Court judges reserved judgment on an application by defence counsel Maggie Scott for Megrahi to be released on bail pending his second appeal against conviction which was expected to be heard in 2009.[37] A week later, Megrahi's bail application was refused.[38]

On the Lockerbie bombing's 20th anniversary, The Independent newspaper published an opinion piece by award-winning journalist and author, Hugh Miles, repeating questions around Megrahi's guilt.[39]

On 14 August 2009, Megrahi withdrew his appeal. South of Scotland SNP MSP Christine Grahame said, "There are a number of vested interests who have been deeply opposed to this appeal continuing as they know it would go a considerable way towards exposing the truth behind Lockerbie.... In the next days, weeks and months new information will be placed in the public domain that will make it clear that Mr Megrahi had nothing to do with the bombing of Pan Am 103."[40] Tam Dalyell, the former Labour MP for West Lothian has long believed Megrahi is the victim of a catastrophic miscarriage of justice, and has publicly stated that Megrahi is merely a scapegoat.[41]

Comrade Stalin