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Lockerbie bombing: Megrahi's part in the bombing called into question

The Lockerbie air crash disaster Credit: PA Archive

Amin Khalifa Fhimah also stood trial with Megrahi, but was acquitted of any involvement.

Last year, exactly 26 years on from the atrocity, the Lord Advocate led a delegation of Scottish law officers who attended a memorial at the Arlington cemetery in Washington.

Mr Mulholland, who addressed the service, said no Crown Office investigator or prosecutor has raised a concern about the evidence in the case and he vowed to track down Megrahi's accomplices.

He has previously said the idea that Megrahi had acted alone was "risible", and said "justice has only partly been done".

Megrahi's part in the bombing has been called into question in a series of books and documentaries.

Lockerbie bombing: Names of suspects not confirmed

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi boards a plane at Glasgow Airport, Credit: PA Wire

The Crown Office has not confirmed the names of the two suspects they are seeking to interview.

The ongoing investigation into the bombing remains a joint one between US and Scottish prosecutors, the Police Service of Scotland and the FBI.

The flight was on its way from London to New York when it exploded above Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, on the evening of December 21 1988, killing everyone on board and 11 people on the ground.

Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder following a trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001 and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years behind bars. He lost his first appeal in 2002.

The following year, he applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) for a review of his conviction.

A £1.1 million investigation by the body led to a finding in June 2007 of six grounds where it believed a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

This decision opened the door to Megrahi's second appeal against his conviction. Although a number of hearings had already been held before senior appeal judges, he dropped his appeal two days before being released from prison in August 2009.

Earlier this year, Scottish judges ruled relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing should not be allowed to pursue an appeal on Megrahi's behalf.

The group of British relatives had argued they had a "legitimate interest" in trying to get his case back before a court for a full appeal.

The SCCRC had asked the Appeal Court in Edinburgh for guidance on whether members of the victims' families could take such a legal move forward.

But judges ruled in July that the law was "not designed to give relatives of victims a right to proceed in an appeal for their own or the public interest".

270
people were killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

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Lockerbie victim's father: 'Great - let's see the evidence'

Jim Swire speaks during a service of remembrance. Credit: Reuters

Reacting to the news that two Libyans have been identified as suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Jim Swire - whose 23-year-old daughter Flora died in the atrocity - told ITV News:

Great but let’s see what the evidence is against them.

Of course we want to know who killed our family members – we still believe that no one has been held to account for Lockerbie as we think the conviction against Megrahi is unsound.

– Jim Swire
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Lockerbie bombing plot: A timeline of events

The bombing killed everyone on board and 11 people on the ground. Credit: Reuters

Here's a recap of the key dates in the investigation into the 1988 Lockerbie bombing plot:

1988
Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 kills 270 people in December 1988 - deadliest attack on British soil
2001
Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi found guilty of mass murder
2002
Al-Megrahi loses his appeal against his conviction
2009
Al-Megrahi is released from prison on compassionate grounds - provoking fury from victims' families
2012
Al-Megrahi dies at his home in Libya from prostate cancer aged 60

Lockerbie bombing: Two men identified as suspects

Site of the Lockerbie bombings in 1988 Credit: PA Wire

Two Libyans have been identified as suspects in the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, Scottish prosecutors have confirmed.

They believe the two individuals were involved along with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi- the only person to have been convicted of the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people were killed.

Megrahi, who was released from jail by the Scottish Government in 2009 on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, died in 2012 protesting his innocence.

Scotland's Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC recently met the US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, in Washington to review progress made in the ongoing investigation.

They have now requested permission from the Libyan authorities for Scottish police and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli.

A Crown Office spokesman said:

The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General have recently agreed that there is a proper basis in law in Scotland and the United States to entitle Scottish and US investigators to treat two Libyans as suspects in the continuing investigation into the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

The Lord Advocate has today, therefore, issued an International Letter of Request to the Libyan attorney general in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans as suspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103.

The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General are seeking the assistance of the Libyan judicial authorities for Scottish police officers and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli. The two individuals are suspected of involvement, along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103 in December 1988 and the murder of 270 people."

– A Crown Office spokesman

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Lead theft 'may have involved a number of people'

Police Scotland. Credit: PA

Police are appealing for information after lead and copper worth around £5,500 were stolen from a property in Lockerbie.

Approximately five tonnes of lead sheeting, and 12 square metres of copper sheeting, were taken from the roof of the Dinwoodie Lodge Country House, Johnstonebridge, Lockerbie.

The theft is thought to have happened between Saturday 4 July and Sunday 5 July.

This theft would not have been a quick one and may well have involved a number of people and vehicles.

We are appealing to anyone who may have been in the area to get in touch with us through 101 if they saw anything suspicious."

– Constable Nicola Brunton, Police Scotland

Lockerbie families fail in Megrahi appeal

Megrahi Credit: PA

Judges have ruled that relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing should not be allowed to pursue an appeal on behalf of the man convicted of the atrocity - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.

Delivering the court's judgment, Lord Carloway said: "The Scottish criminal justice system does not at present allow victims or relatives of victims to be direct participants in criminal proceedings."

Since June last year, the SCCRC has been considering a fresh, joint application from members of Megrahi's family and the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, which includes relatives of British victims of the bombing, to review the conviction.

It was believed to be an unprecedented move - the first time in UK legal history that relatives of murdered victims have united with the relatives of a convicted deceased in such a way.

Lockerbie families fight for Megrahi appeal

al-Megrahi died of cancer in May 2012 Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A hearing will take place today to decide whether relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims could pursue an appeal on behalf of the only man convicted of the atrocity.

A group of British relatives maintain they have a "legitimate interest" in trying to get the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi back before a court for a full appeal.

They believe the Libyan, who died protesting his innocence in his home country in 2012, was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and say his conviction should be overturned.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which is once again looking at Megrahi's conviction, has petitioned the High Court asking for guidance on whether members of the victims' families can take forward such an appeal on the convicted man's behalf.

A hearing on the issue will take place before three judges at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh today.

Megrahi was found guilty of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the south of Scotland on December 21 1988 in which 270 people were killed.

He died after abandoning his second appeal, which itself came after the SCCRC referred the case back to senior High Court judges in 2007.

Since June last year, the SCCRC has been considering a fresh, joint application from members of Megrahi's family and the Justice for Megrahi campaign group, which includes relatives of British victims of the bombing, to review the conviction.

Aamer Anwar, solicitor for the Megrahi family and 26 relatives of Lockerbie victims, said:

On June 5 2014, the Commission received an application for a further review of Mr Al-Megrahi's conviction from my office.

This application was lodged on behalf of two separate groups: Family members of the deceased victims of the Lockerbie bombing and members of Mr Al-Megrahi's family.

Our legal team will argue today that the Commission is premature with their petition, as the role of the SCCRC is to investigate whether there has been a miscarriage of justice.

When Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, 270 people from 21 countries perished. It remains the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed in the UK but the consequences are still being felt 26 years later.

The family members of the Lockerbie victims instructing us maintain that they have as much a right to pursue an appeal as the Megrahi family because they also believe the wrong person was convicted.

The families hope this matter can be resolved as finality in the Megrahi case is unlikely ever to be achieved unless a referral is made to the Appeal Court.

– Aamer Anwar
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