New evidence that
could set free the
By Alan Crow and
THE Lockerbie bomber could be
freed after dramatic new claims that key evidence which helped convict him was
confidential report says items of evidence which led to Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi being found guilty of mass murder were 'interfered' with before
his murder trial. A former senior Scottish detective who worked on the
Lockerbie inquiry team has
told lawyers reviewing Megrahi's case about his concerns over the authenticity of certain 'labels and productions' relating to the atrocity.
ex-officer claims that one key item of evidence - an instruction manual for a
Toshiba radio-cassette recorder allegedly discovered
at the crash site - was used to help lay a trail that would lead to the 'bomber'. He claims the evidence became central to the case against
Megrahi and helped convict him of the world's biggest terrorist atrocity before 9/11. Last night, Jim Swire, father of one of the Lockerbie
victims, said: 'There has been a monumental conspiracy of cover-up involving the British and American governments for the past 18 years.
Megrahi should be released and allowed to return home to his family.'
If the former
police officer's statement is accepted by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review
Commission, Megrahi could win a retrial or have his
conviction quashed. The astonishing account by the ex-policeman, given the codename The Golfer to protect his anonymity, is contained in a
submission of new evidence to the commission. The report - complied by Megrahi's lawyers - also questions the credibility and integrity of key
prosecution witnesses and some police officers and forensic experts. Yesterday, Dr Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the bombing and has
campaigned vigorously for an independent and public inquiry into the affair, said: 'I listened to the entire evidence through Megrahi's trial and
appeal. On the basis of that, and further information obtained since, I am convinced the verdict should be overturned.
'Megrahi should be released and allowed to return home to
his family. I hope this will be done through the Scottish criminal justice
because if it isn't, the international reputation of that system will be wrecked for ever.
'There has been a monumental conspiracy of cover-up involving the British and American governments for the past 18 years.
' We need to sweep that aside and create a forum with integrity that will give us the answers we crave to the many questions that remain.
'If and when Megrahi is freed, I believe the case for an inquiry will become irresistible.'
Megrahi is currently serving life, with a minimum 27-year term, at Greenock Prison.
commission is expected to make a decision on whether to refer the case back to
Megrahi's legal team believes the new evidence is so strong that his eventual release is all but guaranteed.
retired Labour MP Tarn Dalyell, who has campaigned tirelessly for years to
establish the truth of the Lockerbie bombing, said: 'The
Daily Mail confirms the belief I have always had that Megrahi was a sanctions buster for Libyan Arab Airlines and the Libyan oil industry and had
nothing to do with the Lockerbie crime.
'I welcome what the Mail is doing and thank them for their long-term interest.'
Dr Jim Swire (firstname.lastname@example.org)