Lockerbie cover-up like Hillsborough, claim campaigners

The Lockerbie trial at Kamp van Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001 was criticised by campaigners. Picture: TSPL
The Lockerbie trial at Kamp van Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001 was criticised by campaigners. Picture: TSPL
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LOCKERBIE campaigners have lodged “fresh allegations” with justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill about the conduct of the Scottish authorities at the trial 11 years ago.

Demands for a fresh inquiry into the bombing of the Pan Am jet in 1988 will come before MSPs on Holyrood’s justice committee today. The Justice for Megrahi (JFM) campaign has compared the “cover-up” surrounding the trial to the recent Hillsborough revelations. But the claims were branded “false and deliberately misleading” by Scotland’s Crown Office yesterday.

In a submission to the committee, the JFM group states: “The outcome of the Hillsborough inquiry has undoubtedly shone a light on the inner workings of a justice system that purported to keep its citizens safe and secure.

“Now we can see that protection of the system and the wrongdoers within it took

precedence over protection of the individual citizen. If Hillsborough was England’s shame, then Lockerbie is Scotland’s, and much of the indifference and arrogance identified within the former can be identified in the latter.”

The campaign submitted a letter to Mr MacAskill which lodges “serious formal allegations” relating to the conduct of the investigation and the Kamp van Zeist trial.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing above Scotland which killed 270 people, at a special court in the Netherlands in 2001. He died at home in Libya this year, having been freed from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the tragedy, pointed to the “suppression” of a break-in at Heathrow the night before the fated flight, as well as recent revelations about critical evidence surrounding the circuit board from the bomb which cast doubt on its origins. He said: “It’s only a matter of time before even Alex Salmond has to order some kind of inquiry into how that verdict ever came to be reached in the first place.”

But the Crown Office yesterday branded the allegations “defamatory and entirely unfounded”. A spokesman added that one of the allegations had been investigated by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SSCRC) which found no basis for appeal, while it was also found there was “no basis” for claims that any police officers or officials fabricated evidence.

“It is a matter of the greatest concern that deliberately false and misleading allegations have been made in this way,” he added. The Lockerbie conviction has already been upheld by five appeal court judges, while Megrahi abandoned a second appeal.