Families 'have nothing to fear from Lockerbie investigation'

A priest has made a direct appeal to American families of the Lockerbie bombing, saying they have nothing to fear from an inquiry.

Father Pat Keegans, who lived in the Dumfries and Galloway town, wrote an open letter to families of US victims seeking their support for a fresh probe into the 1988 terror attack on Pan Am flight 103.



The letter follows a petition at the Scottish Parliament urging a new investigation into the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the only man found guilty of the atrocity.



Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds last year split opinion and caused anger in America where most victims' families live.



Father Keegan's letter calls on families to "show your concern" for views held by those who dissent from the verdict, the Herald newspaper reported.



The letter added: "Your certainty in the validity of the trial and conviction should allow you accept that such an inquiry would vindicate your belief and you should have nothing to fear from it."



It continued: "There has been a conviction which is not universally accepted but has been questioned by many. A full, public, independent inquiry into all aspects of the bombing would assist us in finding truth and justice."



Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, asked MSPs on Holyrood's Petitions Committee to push for an inquiry earlier this month.



He backed Father Pat Keegans' attempts, hoping for an "objective look" at the evidence.



Dr Swire said: "I think in the long term, some degree of truth is going to come out.



"I agree with what Pat Keegans has been saying but there will be some risk. The longer the truth takes to come out, the harder it will be for some people."



Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, backed the petitioners' campaign.



He has said that without such a probe the "web of mystery" surrounding the "horrible" bombing may never be resolved.



About 1,500 people signed the petition from the Justice For Megrahi pressure group.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before