LETTER: Lockerbie mystery

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Mervyn Benford is mistaken (letter, 7 December). As a signatory of the Montreal Convention, which it has not denounced, Britain is evidently content with the Libyan system and legally obliged to accept that Libya should try the two men accused of the Lockerbie bombing in Libya.

Under Article 7 of the Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation 1971, signed by Britain, Libya and the USA, a contracting state in whose territory an alleged offender is found shall, if it does not extradite him, be obliged without exception whatsoever and whether or not the offence was committed in its territory to submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution. That is the legal position. Morally and ethically Britain may take a different view.

As the father of a Lockerbie victim, my concern is not whether the two men, acting on their own or as agents for the Libyan state, contrived to get a bomb through all the checks in Malta, Frankfurt and Heathrow with or without assistance by others. My concerns are: why Pan Am 103 was blown up; how it was blown up given the intelligence services and aviation security systems, and how terrorism can be prevented by enabling people or countries with grievances, real or imagined, to get a fair hearing so that they are not driven to terrorism.

I hope that the present moves to get a trial in The Hague succeed. But the trial, whatever its outcome, would not alleviate by one little bit our pain. We need to know the whole truth and perhaps could then find some grain of comfort from that knowledge contributing to preventing acts of terrorism.


Burnham Market, Norfolk