Libyan loses Lockerbie appeal

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The Independent Online

Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi today lost his appeal against conviction for the murder of 270 people who died when Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the skies over Lockerbie in December 1988.

Al Megrahi, 49, was found guilty last January of the biggest single act of mass murder in modern British history at a special Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in Holland.

He launched an appeal earlier this year, with defence advocate William Taylor QC arguing that the guilty verdict had been a miscarriage of justice.

Al Megrahi's challenge was based partly on fresh evidence from retired Heathrow airport security guard Ray Manly, who said he had witnessed evidence of a break-in at the baggage handling area the night before Pan Am 103 took off.

Mr Manly said a door leading from the check-in area had been forced open, which could have allowed someone to plant a bag with a Pan Am luggage label in the area where bags were loaded on to planes.

But the prosecution argued the new evidence was "hypothetical" and the door could have been forced by airport staff seeking a short-cut to the baggage area.

Today a panel of five Scottish law lords chaired by the Lord Justice General Lord Cullen, 66, the Lord President of the Court of Session, rejected the appeal.