[This is part of the headline over a report by Marcello Mega in the Scottish edition of The Sunday Times today. It reads in part:]
The son of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has accused relatives of American citizens who died in the attack of closing their minds to fresh evidence about the atrocity.
Ali Megrahi, 25, spent some of his childhood in Scotland where his father, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was jailed.
He fears there is little appetite in the US and UK to continue to investigate the December 1988 attack.
Relatives of the only man convicted of the bombing have launched a fresh attempt to clear his name. Aamer Anwar, the solicitor representing the Megrahi family, has submitted papers to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in the hope that it will lead to the case being referred to the appeal court.
Megrahi is especially angry with US relatives of the 270 dead, saying they would not open their minds to the evidence he believes clears his father. He points to scientific tests carried out on a timer fragment linked to the bomb, which the trial judges said proved Libyan involvement.
He says these have shown the metallurgical composition of the fragment was not the same as the tin/lead alloy of the timers sold to Libya by the Swiss company Mebo, casting doubt on the safety of his father’s conviction.
But Susan Cohen, from New Jersey, who lost her 20-year-old daughter Theodora in the bombing, said: “Talk of planted evidence and cover-ups is fake news. I put it on the same level as the guy who said the Clintons were running a sex abuse ring in Washington.
“The doubters insist Libya was framed, but where is their evidence? I saw the evidence that convicted Megrahi in court.”
Adelbaset al-Megrahi died of cancer on May 20, 2012, 33 months after his release from a life sentence on compassionate grounds. The SCCRC had referred the case back for a second appeal, citing six grounds that could each constitute a miscarriage of justice, but Megrahi abandoned the appeal in the belief that this would secure his release from prison in Scotland.
When later asked to refer it back again by Anwar, acting on behalf of the Megrahi family and UK victims who doubted Megrahi’s guilt, the SCCRC declined in the absence of a signed mandate from the family, because of conflict in Libya. Late last year Megrahi’s family managed to leave war-torn Libya to meet Anwar in Switzerland to sign papers instructing him, making it clear that they support an appeal.
But his younger son now fears the commission and the Scottish courts will try to avoid the potential embarrassment of tackling the fresh evidence.
He said: “Scotland must show that it has courage and is not a lapdog for the Americans who don’t want to know the truth.
“The new evidence proves my father’s innocence, but the Americans close their eyes and ears.
“My family feels for the victims and their families, but we were also victims of Lockerbie. Soon, everyone will know that my father is innocent. If the court does not grant another appeal, we have to find a way. The evidence never dies.”
Robert Black, emeritus professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh university and the architect of the Lockerbie trial held in the Netherlands with three Scottish judges and no jury, also has concerns.
Black, who was educated at Lockerbie Academy, said: “The SCCRC did not appear keen to open this up again and found a way, after seeking guidance from the courts, to justify refusal.
“Now there is no doubt Megrahi’s family is involved, there is still a danger they might seek advice from the Scottish courts, and that advice might be that it is no longer in the public interest to reopen the investigation. I fear that could kill the search for justice stone dead.” [RB: While I fear that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission may reject the current application on the “interests of justice” limb of the test they have to apply -- they can scarcely do so on the “miscarriage of justice” branch of the test, having regard to the prior SCCRC history of the case and the new evidence -- I remain confident and relatively optimistic about the Police Scotland Operation Sandwood investigation.]
The Crown Office said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on the application to the SCCRC, which has not been shared with the crown, while it is being considered.”