South Scotland

Lockerbie bombing: Megrahi family lodge appeal bid

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Media captionAamer Anwar says the appeal should be heard "in the interests of justice and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system

The family of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has lodged a new bid to appeal against his conviction, five years after his death.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar joined family members and supporters to hand files to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).

It will decide if there are grounds to refer the case to the appeal court.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the 1988 atrocity in Dumfries and Galloway which killed 270 people.

He was jailed for 27 years but died of prostate cancer aged 60 in 2012 after being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

He lost an appeal against his conviction in 2002, with the SCCRC recommending in 2007 that he should be granted a second appeal.

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Image caption Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the 1988 bombing

Megrahi dropped the second attempt to overturn his conviction in 2009, ahead of his return to Libya, but his widow Aisha and son Ali met Mr Anwar late last year to discuss a posthumous appeal to overturn the murder conviction.

The SCCRC will now decide whether there are grounds to refer the case to the appeal court.

The move has the support of Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and Rev John Mosey, whose daughter Helga also died.

It is believed the new appeal bid is based on concerns over the evidence that convicted the Libyan, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.

'Interests of justice'

Mr Anwar said: "It has been a long journey in the pursuit for truth and justice."

He said that the truth remained "elusive" about what was still the "worst terrorist atrocity ever committed in the UK".

"The reputation of Scottish law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi," he claimed.

"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."

'Full review'

Gerard Sinclair, chief executive of the SCCRC, said it would give "careful consideration" to the application as it did with every case.

"In particular, we will immediately be looking to see that this fresh application fully addresses the matters which we identified as missing from the application in 2015 and in particular provides access to the original appeal papers from Mr Megrahi's solicitors," he said.

"If the commission accepts the application for a full review there are several important considerations which will affect the timescale within which we will be able to deal with this matter, including any new lines of inquiry and the fact that the membership of the board has completely changed since the original referral in 2007."

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