Lockerbie bomber’s family ‘deeply disappointed’ by Supreme Court decision

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(Danny Lawson/PA)
(Danny Lawson/PA)

The Lockerbie bomber’s son is “deeply disappointed” that UK Supreme Court judges have refused permission to launch an appeal in the case, a lawyer has said.

Lawyers for the family of the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – the only man to be convicted of the bombing of Pan-Am flight flight 103 in 1988 – had been seeking to overturn a ruling by the High Court.

A total of 270 people were killed in Britain’s largest terrorist atrocity when the plane, travelling from London to New York, was brought down over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Former Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years.

The Megrahis regard their father as the 271st victim of Lockerbie

Aamer Anwar, lawyer for the Megrahi family

In January last year, Megrahi’s son, Ali al-Megrahi, lost an appeal against his late father’s conviction.

The Supreme Court has ruled that permission to appeal against that decision should be refused, saying the “application does not raise an arguable point of law”.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, representing the Megrahi family, insisted this was not the end of the matter as he would take the case back to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) and “continue to pursue an appeal”.

Mr Anwar said: “I spoke today to Ali, the son of the late al-Megrahi, and he said he was deeply disappointed in the decision of the UK Supreme Court.

“Ali told me he was eight years old when his father went to the Netherlands to stand trial. When his father returned to Libya to die, Ali spent most of his time next to his father and said that until his dying breath he maintained his innocence.

“The Megrahis regard their father as the 271st victim of Lockerbie.”

Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, and died in Libya in 2012.

The Libyan had originally lodged an appeal against his conviction in 2007, but this was abandoned in 2009 before he was granted compassionate release.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar insisted that ‘this is not the end of the matter’ and he would take the case back to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. (Jane Barlow/PA)
Lawyer Aamer Anwar insisted that ‘this is not the end of the matter’ and he would take the case back to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Anwar said: “Ali said as a son he will not give up on his father’s dying wish to clear his name and that of Libya, and has instructed myself as his family’s lawyer to continue with a further application to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.”

In March 2020 the SCCRC referred Megrahi’s case to the High Court as a possible miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

However, in what was the third appeal against Megrahi’s conviction in November 2020, at the High Court in Edinburgh, a panel of five judges rejected the claim.

Mr Anwar said that after having spoken to Megrahi’s son “this is not the end of the matter” as the “reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system has suffered badly both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi”.

The lawyer said: “On December 21 1988, 270 people from 21 countries were murdered in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed in the United Kingdom.

“Since then the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man ever convicted of the crime, has been described as the worst miscarriage of justice in British legal history.

“For my legal team it has been eight long years but for the families we represent it has been 33 long years of struggle for truth and justice. Sadly that struggle is not over.”

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