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Family of Lockerbie bomber lose posthumous appeal against his conviction

by Reuters
Friday, 15 January 2021 12:17 GMT

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By Michael Holden

LONDON, Jan 15 (Reuters) - The family of Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing which killed 270, have failed to overturn his conviction after losing a posthumous appeal in a Scottish court on Friday.

Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer who died in 2012, was jailed for life in 2001 after being found guilty of the murder of 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 residents of Lockerbie in the deadliest militant attack in British history.

Five judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland refused the appeal against his conviction.

Megrahi's son Ali said the family were heartbroken by Friday's ruling and had instructed their legal team to launch an appeal to the UK Supreme Court, Aamer Anwar, the lawyer for the Megrahi family said in a statement.

"He maintained his father's innocence and is determined to fulfil the promise he made to clear his name and that of Libya," Anwar said.

Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988 en route from London to New York, carrying mostly Americans on their way home for Christmas.

After years of wrangling and sanctions against Libya, Megrahi and a second man Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima went on trial in 2000 in the Netherlands under Scottish law. Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum jail term of 27 years, while Fahima was found not guilty.

Megrahi, who denied involvement in the attack, died in Libya in 2012 after being released three years earlier by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds following a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi accepted his country's responsibility for the bombing in 2003 and paid compensation to the victims' families, but did not admit personally ordering the attack.

However, Megrahi's family and some relatives of the Scottish victims have always doubted his guilt and say the truth has yet to come out. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by William James)

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