Embassy bombing appeal is stalled

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MORE THAN a year after the former MI5 agent David Shayler revealed the British security services were warned about the 1994 bombing of the Israeli embassy in London, a lawyer is still waiting for the Crown Prosecution Service to give her information about who was behind the attack.

Gareth Peirce, who represents the two Arabs serving 20 years for conspiracy to bomb the embassy - both of whom still proclaim their innocence - has complained to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the failure to respond to her request. To no avail.

Mr Shayler, who has been released by French authorities after a failed extradition demand from Britain, first spoke about the warning in an interview with The Mail on Sunday, claiming that the British security authorities received word from "an impeccable source" that the Israeli embassy would be bombed.

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, has said the information would not have enabled it to prevent the embassy bombing.

Samar Alami and Jawad Botmi, who were convicted of conspiracy in 1996, say they were "set up" by a man they suspect was working for the Israelis and whom they named as Reda Moghrabi.

The police have found no record of the man.

"The day we read the report about Shayler, I wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to say that this appeared to be important information, of which we were unaware and asked them to provide us with it," Ms Peirce said.

"This was almost exactly a year ago. I have repeatedly asked them since - but have received no response. I filed a formal complaint with the Director of Public Prosecutions about this lack of response - about the failure of the CPS to provide us with a reply."

Ms Peirce wrote personally to Dame Barbara Mills, then the Director of Public Prosecutions, whose job has now been taken by David Calvert- Smith -who was, ironically, the senior prosecutor at the trial of Alami and Botmi. "I was told that my request for information was under `active consideration'," Ms Peirce said.

"The second response was that there would have to be a Public Interest Immunity hearing - which means that the CPS would put before the Court of Appeal the information they had, indicating either that they didn't wish to - or could not - reveal this information to the defence. The court would then have to decide whether, in their view, the prosecution should reveal this information to the defence or not - and all of this argument would take place in the absence of the defence."

According to Ms Peirce: "If the security services had a reliable warning from a reliable source, that could clearly give us information as to who was behind the bombing - it could provide strong clues as to what we need to know - about who is Reda Moghrabi."

No date is set for an appeal of Alami's and Botmi's case. Their sketch of Reda Moghrabi - the man they believe carried out the bombing - was published for the first time in The Independent last week.

Neither the police nor the prosecution sought such a portrait from them.

And no search is under way to find the man whom the two convicted prisoners say implicated them in the attack on the Israeli embassy.