This is not the place to rediscuss the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi who, in my opinion, was wrongly convicted of the Lockerbie bombing; see earlier post.(1) However, because the evidence does indeed seem to suggest that he was unjustly found guilty,(2) I find today’s news from the ‘Guardian’ that Abdelbaset, who is terminally ill with cancer, will not be allowed to leave his cell in Greenock prison and join his family near Glasgow,(3) a disgrace. The verdict today was delivered by the Lord Justice General, Lord Hamilton who said, “The critical question, as the court sees it, is, against the background of the atrocity of which the applicant stands convicted, whether the applicant’s health, present and prospective, is such as the court should on compassionate grounds now admit him to bail.”(4)
It doesn’t matter, that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission said last year that he may have been wrongly convicted or that he himself, a dying man, has denied time and time again that he is guilty of a crime that killed 270 people, including all 259 people on board and 11 residents of Lockerbie, where the plane crashed or even that, the spokesman for the British relatives’ of those who died, Dr Jim Swire, whose own daughter Flora was killed, said it was difficult to see the justification for the decision to refuse bail. “It has never been a goal of our group to seek revenge,” said a statement read out on Dr Swire’s behalf. “And the refusal of a return to his family for a dying man whose verdict is not even yet secure looks uncomfortably like either an aspect of revenge – or perhaps timidity.(5) “Revenge – or perhaps timidity.” Dr Swire has certainly hit the nail on the head and let us not dare to upset our masters in Whitehall and Washington. As a Scotsman I am ashamed of our so-called independent judiciary, which appears to be no more independent than that judiciary, which is responsible for miscarriages of justice such as those made on the Guildford and Birmingham bombings and on the Chagos Islanders although in Lord Hamilton’s defence it can be added that he has tried to tackle “the Crown’s refusal to disclose a top-secret document vital to unearthing the truth about the Lockerbie bombing.”(6) Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that the Scottish Law Lords have been made all too aware of their lack of independence.
2 The Great Lockerbie Whitewash” in John Pilger’s edited “Tell Me No Lies”