SCOTLAND’S top prosecutor has reaffirmed his belief that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is guilty of killing 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing and has pledged to track down his accomplices.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland says no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised any concern about the evidence in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 26 years ago today.
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Megrahi’s part in the bombing has been called into question in a series of books, documentaries and in testimony to the Scottish Parliament.
In an anniversary address to relatives, Mulholland says his investigation “remains on the evidence, and not on speculation and supposition”.
He has travelled to Washington to attend a memorial service at Arlington Cemetery.
Mulholland says: “The current instability in Libya has meant that some investigative opportunities have required to be reassessed, which I know has been frustrating for family members.
“However, our prosecutors and police officers, working with UK government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing those who acted along with al-Megrahi to justice.
“There are other significant investigative opportunities open to us which are not reliant on obtaining evidence from our Libyan colleagues.
“The Crown will never give up the fight to secure justice for the families of those who died.
“It might be 26 years since 270 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack but justice has no sell-by date in Scotland.
“Over the years many people have worked on the inquiry and all have been given the same instruction; to carefully review the evidence and work to identify all of those who were involved in the conspiracy to destroy Pan Am Flight 103.
“During the 26-year long inquiry not one Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a concern about the evidence in this case.
“We remain committed to this investigation and our focus remains on the evidence and not on speculation and supposition.”
Supporters of Megrahi, who was said by the FBI to have been a Libyan intelligence officer, have claimed that Scottish prosecutors ignored evidence that the bomb was put on board the flight at Heathrow rather than in Malta.
They have also alleged Libya was “framed” over the bombing, and that a fragment of the bomb’s timer was either planted or manipulated to implicate Libya.
Yesterday, former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: “One of the most unsavoury elements of this case is the repeated and unfounded criticism of the judges who sat in the trial and those who heard the subsequent appeal against conviction. The judges by convention are unable to respond publicly to these criticisms, which imply that they were somehow part of a conspiracy.
“In truth, they were all experienced in criminal law and of unquestioned integrity.
“It is a curious feature of this case that those who argued most vehemently for a special court to be set up to deal with the case are now among the most vociferous critics of its verdict.”
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, said he continued to believe that Megrahi was innocent.
He said: “I think you have to look further than the superficial comments made by the Lord Advocate.”
He said he believed that evidence was “clearly designed in order to mislead the court” and pointed the finger towards the CIA.
Swire said recent revelations about the agency’s complicity in torture following the 9/11 terrorist attacks showed the CIA “has little respect for the requirements of the law of their own country”.
Pan Am Flight 103 exploded at 31,000ft over Lockerbie, on 21 December, 1988. As well as 259 people on board the aircraft, 11 residents of Lockerbie died as a result of a giant fireball caused when a wing holding thousands of gallons of fuel exploded on impact.
The Scottish Government released Megrahi on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He returned to Libya, where he died in May 2012, still protesting his innocence.
Megrahi was convicted of carrying out the bombing in January 2001, but his co-accused Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted by a special court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.
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