Bid to unlock secrets of Lockerbie bomber’s appeal

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The UK government has been asked to set aside data protection rules to allow the release of more details about the Lockerbie bomber’s abandoned appeal.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi gave up his appeal against conviction for the murder of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, shortly before he was released on compassionate grounds and allowed to go back home to Libya two years ago.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) had said he was entitled to an appeal but that it had no power to make its reasons public.

Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill, who published the Criminal Cases (Punishment and Review) Bill yesterday, has written to Westminster counterpart Ken Clarke. He said: “The bill puts in place a framework that will enable, as far as possible within devolved competence, the disclosure of information by the SCCRC in cases where an appeal has been abandoned or has fallen.

“This government continues to do all we can to achieve publication of the statement of reasons in the al-Megrahi case. That is why I have written to the UK government asking that they set aside data protection legislation, freeing the commission from this obstacle.”