Leading article: No closure for Lockerbie families

 

Share
Related Topics

The death of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in Tripoli yesterday is a closure of sorts, but only of the diplomatic fracas that accompanied his release from prison in Scotland in 2009. It brings us no closer to solving the mystery of who was responsible for the bomb that brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. Nor does it offer any resolution to the families of the 270 people who died.

Megrahi was released, after serving eight-and-a-half years of his 27-year sentence, because he had terminal prostate cancer and was judged to have only three months to live. But when he received a hero's welcome from Colonel Gaddafi on his arrival in Libya – and then proceeded to long outlive his Scottish doctors' pessimistic prognoses – his release provoked a major diplomatic incident.

The response in Scotland was mixed, less on the question of whether to be merciful to a dying man than because of doubts as to the validity of the conviction in the first place. In the US, however, there was widespread hostility and the release was widely denounced, not least by President Obama. As the stand-off continued, the allegations grew ever murkier, including claims that Westminster pressed for the deal to protect Britain's trading relationship with Libya. And there were also hints that the release was linked to Megrahi's last-minute decision to drop his appeal.

With his death, the diplomatic embarrassment, at least, is over. But there is unfinished business still. Megrahi's abandoned appeal followed a three-year Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission investigation that set out six different grounds upon which there might have been a miscarriage of justice, as he had always claimed. Several of the families of Lockerbie victims also believe in his innocence, and the representative of the families of some of the British victims described him yesterday as "the 271st victim". With so many loose ends remaining and so many questions about the original trial unresolved, the Scottish Government should agree to a public inquiry into the tragedy. Mr Megrahi's death is no reason to stop trying to get to the truth.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Change Manager - London - EMEA & CIS projects

£56500 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

Ashdown Group: Regional HR Advisor / HR Business Partner - Oxfordshire

£30000 per annum + contributory pension: Ashdown Group: An established Not for...

Ashdown Group: Tester / Test Engineer - Cheshire - Growing Industry Leader

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Ashdown Group: Data Migration Specialist / Architect - SQL Server / SSIS - gro

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Read Next
August 1923: Immigrants in a dining hall on Ellis Island, New York.  

When will the Church speak up for the dispossessed, and those that our political system leaves behind?

Stefano Hatfield
Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto  

The UK is rolling out the red carpet for President Peña Nieto, but his security forces have blood on their hands

Kate Allen
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003