Lockerbie release milestone nears

Relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims have spoken out ahead of the second anniversary of the early prison release of the only man convicted of the atrocity.

Tomorrow will be two years to the day since Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was freed from jail in Scotland by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on compassionate grounds.



Megrahi served nearly eight years of a 27-year sentence after being convicted of killing 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 four days before Christmas in 1988.



He returned to Libya after being released on August 20 2009. Megrahi had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and the Scottish Government accepted advice that he had about three months to live.



Despite anger from critics of the decision, others hit out at the "annual Lockerbie bomber blood fest".



Some relatives of victims, and other campaigners, believe Megrahi is innocent, or that all legal avenues have not yet been followed through in the case.



Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the bombing, said: "It's extremely frustrating that we're here, still talking about this.



"The fact that it's now years later means that the decision was probably made on a spurious basis.



"I'm sure Kenny MacAskill made it in good faith, but why are we having this discussion now? It's just another thing that remains unsolved."



Ms Dix, who lives in Woking, Surrey, said too much confusion surrounds the legal process.



She added: "The court found him guilty, but he refused to speak and dropped his appeal. The release left us in limbo."



Of the 270 victims, 189 were Americans. US families were among the most vocal critics of the decision, along with President Barack Obama.



Bob Monetti, from New Jersey in the US, who lost his son Rick in the attack, said: "The whole thing was a put-up job to start with. He was released because they (the Government) wanted business with the Libyans.



"Hopefully the Gaddafi regime will fall and we'll find out more.



"It has certainly put the Scottish Government in a bad light."



Mr Monetti, who said he "absolutely disagreed" with the decision to free Megrahi, said the idea that he can be properly monitored in Libya is a "joke".



Robert Forrester, of the Justice for Megrahi campaign, writing in the Scottish Review, said: "Here we go again. As the date of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi's compassionate release approaches, we enter what has become the annual Lockerbie bomber blood fest."



The campaign group wants an independent inquiry to look again at the conviction.



The only publicly-available document on Megrahi's health is from Dr Andrew Fraser, the Scottish Prison Service director of health and care.



While describing the three-month prognosis as "reasonable", the report stated that no-one "would be willing to say" if Megrahi would live longer.



Scottish Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont said yesterday: "Many in Scotland must feel that the Scottish people have been let down by two governments - Alex Salmond's at Holyrood and Gordon Brown's at Westminster.



"The last UK Labour government bent over backwards to get Megrahi set free.



"The suspicion lingers that this was not a decision based on facts, but that facts were found to fit a decision already taken and leaked to the Libyans."



A spokesman for Mr MacAskill accused the Tories of hypocrisy and said: "Scotland's justice system has been dealing with the Lockerbie atrocity for nearly 23 years, and in every regard the due process of Scots law has been followed - in terms of the investigation, prosecution, imprisonment, rejection of the prisoner transfer application and granting of compassionate release.



"The Justice Secretary released Megrahi on compassionate grounds and compassionate grounds alone, based on the rules and regulations of Scots law and the recommendations of the Parole Board for Scotland, the prison governor, and the report of the Scottish Prison Service director of health and care Dr Andrew Fraser - all of which have been published.



"The decision was made following the due process of Scots law, and the fact remains that Megrahi has a terminal illness and is dying of prostate cancer."



Source: PA

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil