Lockerbie convict's family among protesters for justice in Edinburgh

Friday, December 5, 2008

The wife and children of Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, were amongst other relatives and friends of prisoners protesting against alleged miscarriages of justice in Edinburgh yesterday. The airliner came down over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people.

Megrahi is due an appeal against his conviction next year. Also present at the unprecedented "Silent Walk For Justice" was the family of Jason MacIntyre, a champion cyclist killed when Robert McTaggart ran him down in a van in January, for which he received a six month driving ban after conviction of careless driving. MacIntyre's wife said McTaggert should have instead been charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

Also present was the mother of Luke Mitchell, a 48-year-old convicted in 2005 of the murder of teenager Jodi Jones, his then girlfriend. She carried a poster saying "miscarriages of justice have no voice" and says fresh evidence has surfaced that warrants a new appeal and a new legal team has been appointed to represent him.

Are miscarriages of justice a problem in Scotland?

The march was organised by Swede Annie Börjesson's mother and her best friend Maria Jansson, who between them campaigned for a fatal accident inquiry after Annie's body was found washed ashore at Prestwick in December 2005. Ms Jansson said the march was an event for people who felt let down by the legal system and not about individual cases, saying "We are not here to judge each other or measure each other – we are here because we are humans."

Despite this, around 30 people surrounded Megrahi's wife Aisha and their four sons Khalid, Mohamed, Ali and Moutasim to support them, holding posters with Megrahi on them. The marchers travelled down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament Building, then held a candlelit vigil.

Outside the building, Mr al-Megrahi's lawyer Tony Kelly read a statement on behalf of Aisha. "My children and I are here today to give support to my husband, Abdelbaset, who is a victim of a miscarriage of justice and terminally ill, and also to give support to all those other victims of miscarriages of justice," it said. "We are here for the sake of all these innocent souls who are suffering in silence. I would like to thank all those who continue to support him, pray for him and express sympathy with him."

She also asked for the 'compassionate' people of Scotland to "consider the suffering of my husband", saying of him: "He is an innocent and very ill man who is suffering every day from the psychological and physical stress. Let us pray for justice and the accomplishment of the truth."