Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi moves to drop Lockerbie bombing appeal

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Lockerbie memorial

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was revealed today to have requested his second appeal to be dropped. Al-Megrahi was convicted of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, which detonated as the aircraft flew over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 killing all 259 people on board and eleven more on the ground.

Megrahi had been offered transfer to his home of Libya if he dropped the appeal, but had previously stated he would not return unless his conviction was overturned. He has terminal prostate cancer and it is thought that he is due to be released shortly on compassionate grounds, having served eight years of his minimum term of 27 years in Greenock prison.

Megrahi lost his first appeal in 2002, but a review found that there was reason to believe there may have been a miscarriage of justice. The decision to drop his second appeal comes as a surprise, with some victims' relatives expecting the proceedings to continue even after his death. A court hearing to consider the request is due on Tuesday.

Opinions about the conviction are split, with the families of most British victims considering the man to be innocent while those in the United States are satisfied with his guilt. Briton Martin Cadman, whose son Bill was among the dead, told The Daily Telegraph "It's been nearly 21 years since the event and where are we? Nowhere." Last year, on the twentieth anniversary of the disaster the head of the US group Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Kara Weipz, told Wikinews that "There is no difference between the truth as we see it and the official version of events. The facts are the facts, Mr. Megrahi is guilty."