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Megrahi conviction "probably unsafe" says MacAskill

Photo: PA

Scotland's former Justice Secretary has told ITV Border there are doubts about the conviction of the only man found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing.

Kenny MacAskill took the decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds in August 2009, dividing world opinion.

Mr MacAskill had rejected an application from the Libyan government for a prisoner transfer but based his decision on the fact Megrahi was suffering from prostate cancer.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 Credit: PA

Now the former Justice Secretary in the first SNP Holyrood government formed in 2007 has written a book about the incident: 'The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice.'

Some campaigners have always maintained that Megrahi is innocent, whilst other say the special Scottish court set up in the Netherlands for the case came to the right verdict.

I do think there are now doubts upon the conviction and I tend to think that it probably would result in it being found unsafe.

"But there was a lot of other information regarding Mr Megrahi. Suggestions that some people seem to make that he had no involvement, that there'd been the planting of evidence or whatever, I just believe are entirely defamatory of those involved."

– Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's former Justice Secretary
Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie. Credit: PA

Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie on its journey from London to New York on 21 December 1988.

All 259 passengers and crew as well as 11 residents on the ground in the Dumfries and Galloway town were killed.

Mr MacAskill's book, published on Thursday, is highly critical of both the US and UK government who he claims opposed the return of Megrahi to Libya while doing deal with the country's then leader Muammar Gadaffi.

The book looks into the details of the bombing, the subsequent police investigation, the trial and the aftermath.

"I think what this book does is look at much more than the trial. It looks at the much winder events because this was a tragic event of terrorism.

"But it also involved both commercial dealing, it involved security aspects of the United States and the United Kingdom and it involved huge hypocrisy by those who were lambasting myself, criticising Scotland and were conniving and conspiring...."

– Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's former Justice Secretary

ITV Border asked Scottish Secretary and Lockerbie MP David Mundell for his reaction to Mr MacAskill's claims, but he declined to comment.

You can see an extended interview with Mr MacAskill on Representing Border tomorrow night.