MSPs to watch Lockerbie bomber family's appeal '˜with interest'

MSPs will 'watch with interest' a planned bid by the family of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to appeal against his conviction.
Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. (AP Photo/Via APTN)Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. (AP Photo/Via APTN)
Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. (AP Photo/Via APTN)

The case is expected to be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) which investigates possible miscarriages of justice and will decide whether there are grounds for referral to the appeal court.

MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee agreed to keep open a long-running petition from Justice for Megrahi campaigners calling for an independent inquiry into Megrahi’s conviction in 2001 for the 1988 bombing which killed 270 people.

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In a written submission, the campaigners said reports of the planned appeal bid indicate “a significant development for those pursuing the truth about Lockerbie”.

Committee convener Margaret Mitchell said: “Recently publicity suggests that the family of Mr Megrahi will launch a bid to appeal against his conviction in the coming weeks so we will watch that with interest and see if that affects where we go from here.”

Megrahi was jailed for for 27 years but was released home to Libya on compassionate grounds in 2009 and died of prostate cancer aged 60 three years later.

His widow Aisha and son Ali are expected to present concerns over the evidence which convicted Megrahi, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.

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

He dropped the second attempt to overturn his conviction in 2009, ahead of his return to Libya.