Son of 1988 Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi loses appeal against his late dad's conviction

THE son of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has today lost an appeal against his late father's conviction.

Pan Am flight 103 was travelling from London to New York on December 21, 1988, when it was bombed 31,000ft over Scotland.

The disaster – Britain's largest terror attack – killed 270 people including 11 Lockerbie locals killed by falling debris.

Ex-Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years – the only person convicted of the atrocity.

He was released from jail in 2009 on compassionate grounds while terminally ill with cancer and died in Libya in three years later.

Top judges at the High Court in Edinburgh have now rejected an appeal to overturn his conviction following a hearing in November.


It was the third attempt to quash the charge, with lawyers arguing a possible miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

Megrahi's family have been left "heartbroken" at the latest decision and now plan to take their fight to the UK Supreme Court.

Their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: "Ali Al-Megrahi, the son of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, said his family were left heartbroken by the decision of the Scottish courts, he maintained his father's innocence and is determined to fulfil the promise he made to clear his name and that of Libya.

"All the Megrahi family want for Scotland is peace and justice, but as Ali stated today their journey is not over, Libya has suffered enough, as has the family for the crime of Lockerbie, they remain determined to fight for justice."

Their latest appeal was lodged after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred the case to the High Court in March 2020.

The bomber's son Ali al-Megrahi has argued "no reasonable jury" could have returned the verdict the court did, and claims non-disclosure of documents by the Crown.

But Scotland's most senior judge Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice General, said in his written judgment: "The contention that the trial court reached a verdict that no reasonable court could have reached is rejected".


He added: "On the evidence at trial, a reasonable jury, properly directed, would have been entitled to return a guilty verdict.

"The contention that the Crown failed to disclose material which would have created a real prospect of a different verdict is rejected.

"Both grounds of appeal having been rejected, the appeal against conviction is refused."

The appeal in November heard how evidence in relation to identification was of "poor quality".

But Ronald Clancy QC, for the Crown, said Megrahi's use of a false passport to travel to Malta – from where the plane carrying the bomb left just before the atrocity – taken along with other evidence, combined to form a pattern that suggested his involvement.

Megrahi's original trial was held at a special Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

Britain’s deadliest terror atrocity

Pan Am Flight 103 was flying from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York on 21 December 1988.

While over the Scottish town of Lockerbie a bomb was detonated aboard the plane called Clipper Maid of the Seas.

All 259 on board, including 35 Syracuse University students returning home for the holidays, were killed.

Eleven of the town’s residents on the ground were also killed by falling debris, bringing the death toll to 270.

Adding to the horror, bodies of the passengers were left strewn around the town and its surrounding countryside.

Following a three-year investigation by local police and the FBI two Libyans were issued with arrest warrants for murder.

In 1999 Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, handed over the men for trial and eventually Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life in 2001 after being convicted of 270 counts of murder.

A second suspect, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, stood trial with Megrahi but was acquitted.

Megrahi first appealed against his conviction was refused by the High Court in 2002 and was referred back five years later after an SCCRC review.

He abandoned this appeal in 2009, shortly before his release from prison on compassionate grounds.

The US Justice Department charged a "third conspirator" in connection with the bombing on the 32nd anniversary of the atrocity last month.

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi was allegedly the bombmaker and has charged him with terrorism-related crimes.

Scotland's Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said the investigation into the atrocity continues and there remain suspects under active investigation.

He said: "The bombing of Pan Am 103 is, to this day, the deadliest terrorist attack on UK soil and the largest homicide case Scotland's prosecutors have ever encountered in terms of scale and of complexity.

"The evidence gathered by Scottish, US and international law enforcement agencies has again been tested in the Appeal Court, and the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi stands."

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