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Row over Lockerbie bomber’s release & Ministerial attendance to Washington hearings leave questions over trial & justice in the shadows

23 Jul

Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government refused invite to senate investigation. THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT have, as we all now know, refused an invitation to attend a US Senate investigation of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who was tried & convicted under Scots Law of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988. Mr Al-Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, and allegedly given three months to live after his release in August 2009.

While there is considerable furore on Scottish Minister’s refusal to attend the US investigation into the release of Mr Al-Megrahi, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that Ministers of State of one nation refuse to be questioned on live television over their own decisions by politicians of another nation’s elected assembly, no matter what the case at hand is. Would any other Scottish Government have done different ? I think not .. but then again, perhaps any other Scottish Government may not have released Mr Megrahi … or would they ?

However, while the Scottish Government say they will not attend the Washington Senate investigation, the Scottish Parliament could send over a team, as Holyrood has already investigated the Justice Secretary’s decision to release Mr Al-Megrahi.

To this end, Bill Aitken, the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee for one, could travel across to the US and give testimony over the Justice Committee’s investigation into the release of Mr Al-Megrahi. Another MSP, Christine Grahame, who has questioned the validity of Mr Al-Megrahi’s conviction and the evidence it was based on, could also follow across the Atlantic to give her public account of issues she believes must be ‘put right’.

Viewers in the UK may be familiar with BBC Newsnight Scotland, who ran one of the most informative reports on the recent row over the release of Mr Al-Megrahi, and highlighted issues surrounding the actual conviction & trial, earlier this week. You can watch that show if you are in the UK, by clicking on the image below.

BBC Newsnight Scotland’s Wednesday 21 July 2010 report on the Lockerbie case (click on image to view video)

BBC Newsnight Scotland cap

The Scottish Government have made two media releases this week, reporting a letter from Alex Salmond to US Senator John Kerry and an offer to answer any more questions which senators may ask

Readers can visit the Scottish Government’s information on the Lockerbie bomber’s release here : Lockerbie – Information relating to decision on Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi

Missing from all of the public arguments between politicians over the decision to release Mr Al-Megrahi however, is the question over the way in which the Lockerbie Trial was conducted, and the safety of Mr Al-Megrahi’s conviction, which was due to be tested in an appeal, backed up by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which was as we all know, suddenly dropped by Mr Al-Megrahi, and apparently to the great relief of the Scottish legal establishment, thus enabling Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to decide swiftly on Mr Megrahi’s release, apparently ensuring no further repercussions which may have resulted in the Scots Justice system being made to look even more corrupt than it actually is, if indeed such a conclusion is possible these days …

Of course, while Mr Salmond & Mr MacAskill wont go to Washington, this shouldn’t prevent us having our own independent inquiry to establish the true facts of the Lockerbie trial because make no mistake, Scots deserve an inquiry into the Lockerbie case to establish just how honest the investigation & trial actually was, given the many questions over the evidence, testimony and how the conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi was arrived at by a jury-less Scottish courtroom set up at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

The only problems we have to overcome for such a project, would be finding someone independent enough to chair it, and of course, trying to reach an independent, fully transparent unqualified conclusion which honestly, I don’t think any UK or Scottish public enquiry ever in existence has ever managed to do in any matter being investigated to the present day … especially when it comes to issues of justice …

There is little on the subject I can write more than what has already been covered by the mass media, and Scottish Law Reporter in their coverage of the Lockerbie case, here : The Lockerbie Trial

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