Edinburgh (AFP) – A Scottish commission responsible for investigating miscarriages of justice on Thursday said it will review the conviction of a man jailed for bombing a plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, who died in 2012, was the only person ever convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 killing all 243 passengers and crew. He was jailed for life for mass murder in 2001.
Megrahi maintained his innocence but he abandoned his appeal in 2009 when he was released on compassionate grounds following a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer.
His family asked the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to review the case again after his death.
The SCCRC subsequently interviewed key personnel involved in the previous appeal, recovered the vast majority of relevant material, and reviewed defence papers which were not provided during its previous review.
Gerard Sinclair, SCCRC chief executive, said: “Having considered all the available evidence, the commission believes that Mr Megrahi, in abandoning his appeal, did so as he held a genuine and reasonable belief that such a course of action would result in him being able to return home to Libya, at a time when he was suffering from terminal cancer.
“On that basis, the commission has decided that it is in the interests of justice to accept the current application for a full review of his conviction.”
A statement issued on behalf of the Megrahi family by solicitor Aamer Anwar said: “The reputation of the Scottish law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi.
“It is in the interests of justice and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system that these doubts can be addressed,” he said.
Contacted by AFP on Thursday, Scottish prosecutors, who announced nearly three years ago that they had identified two new suspects, said the investigation into the bombing is still ongoing.