Lockerbie bomber: previously inadmissible evidence would have made case against him ‘stronger’
From the Telegraph
A senior Scottish court has dismissed an appeal against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction for the worst terrorist act in British history. Senior judges have ruled that incriminating evidence over luggage tags deemed inadmissible 20 years ago at the Lockerbie bomber’s original trial would have made the case against him and his co-accused “substantially stronger”.
The judgment is a devastating blow to a long-running campaign to clear al-Megrahi’s name. It will also galvanise American efforts to bring Abu Agila Masud, the alleged bombmaker, to justice.
The family of one British victim said the 64-page Court of Criminal Appeal judgment had strengthened their opinion that Megrahi had been instrumental in carrying out the worst terrorist atrocity on British soil. Pam Dix, 64, whose brother Peter was killed, said: “I am now more and more confident of Megrahi’s guilt. I was open to persuasion but nothing presented by the defence has moved me in the direction of thinking he was innocent.”
The five senior Scottish judges said the weight of evidence against Megrahi, who died aged 60 in 2012, was enough for a “reasonable jury” to find him guilty. The judges reinforced the strength of the conviction by ruling that a diary entry written by Megrahi’s co-accused claiming he had acquired baggage tags for Megrahi should have been ruled admissible at the original trial.
The luggage tags allegedly provided by Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah allowed Megrahi to bypass airport security in Malta and plant the suitcase bomb that was transferred via Frankfurt on to Pan Am flight 103 taking off from London. Fhimah was found not guilty at the initial trial held at a specially convened Scottish court in the Netherlands 20 years ago and is now thought to be living in Tripoli with his family.
The judges ruled that: “They [the diary entries] constituted direct evidence, if the court had chosen to accept it, which, coupled with other circumstances, could have led to an inference that the co-accused had been tasked with securing Air Malta luggage tags for Mr Megrahi. . . That case would have been substantially stronger had the evidence of the luggage tags been taken into account, as it should have been.”
When Megrahi was controversially freed from a Scottish jail and sent home on compassionate grounds suffering from cancer, Fhimah welcomed him at the airport.