Petition calls for Lockerbie enquiry

The saga of the Lockerbie Bomber took another twist yesterday as a petition was handed in to the Scottish Parliament calling for an Independent Inquiry into Abdulbaset al Megrahi’s conviction.

The petition is signed by 1,200 people, the vast majority of them from Scotland.  It is supported by Jim Swire, father of one of the victims of the bomb that brought down a Pan Am airliner on December 21st 1989 killing two hundred and seventy people.

Another high profile signature came from the father of Shirley MacKie, the policewoman whose suspension for alleged perjury was itself the subject of an official inquiry.

Author A.L. Kennedy also lent her support to the cause.

The Libyan abandoned his appeal last year and was controversially released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.  But any hopes among the judiciary that the remaining questions surrounding the case would fade have been dashed by the call for an appeal.

Robert Black, the lawyer who designed the original trial in the Netherlands said “I have always contended that no reasonable tribunal could have convicted Megrahi on the evidence led.”

The main contention is over the testimony of a Maltese shopkeeper who claimed to have recognised Megrahi buying clothes in his shop shortly before the plane took off.  Scraps from these clothes were found among the wreckage along with a fragment of a timer device said to be the same as one found by the C.I.A. in the possession of Libyan security agents.