Ed Jacobs reports on how the slaying of Gaddafi will not affect the Scottish government’s hunt for the Lockerbie bombers, and the one man to be convicted to date.
The news of the death of the former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi has prompted the Scottish government to reiterate that the Scottish legal authorities will continue to do all they can to discover who else was behind the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
To date, just one person, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has been convicted and subsequently freed in 2009 on compassionate grounds following his diagnosis with terminal cancer at Greenock Prison.
Responding to the news, first minister, Alex Salmond explained:
“Gaddafi was a brutal dictator, who exploited his country and brutalised the Libyan people for over four decades – he lived by the sword, and has met his just-deserts. We now look forward to the end of conflict in Libya, and the emergence of a free and democratic country.
“Regarding the ongoing Lockerbie investigation, the Crown office have always said that the Lockerbie atrocity remains an open case. The only person convicted, Al Megrahi, acted in his capacity as a Libyan intelligence agent – he was found guilty of an act of state-sponsored terrorism and did not act alone.
“Therefore, our police and prosecution authorities stand ready to investigate and follow any new lines of inquiry that may be emerging in Libya at the present moment – just as Scotland’s justice system has dealt with all aspects of the Lockerbie atrocity over the last 23 years according to the precepts of Scots law, and no other factor.”
Speaking from his bed in Tripoli earlier this month, Al-Megrahi promised that new facts would emerge over the bombing which saw 270 people murdered when Pan AM flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Protesting his innocence, he told Reuters:
“The facts will become clear one day and hopefully in the near future. In a few months from now, you will see new facts that will be announced.
“The West exaggerated my name. Please leave me alone. I only have a few more days, weeks or months.
“All my work was administrative. I never harmed Libyans, I didn’t harm anyone. I’ve never harmed anyone in my life.“
Last month, the Libyan National Transitional Council sought to provide reassurances by outlining its determination to work co-operatively with the Scottish Government, police and Foreign Office over the on-going investigation into the terrorist atrocity.
Under the terms of his release, Al-Megrahi is expected to remain in regular contact with East Renfrewshire Council, the death of Gaddafi prompted a spokesman for the local authority to explain:
“Our position with regards to the monitoring of Megrahi remains the same.”
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• Gaddafi is dead. Long live Libya – Shamik Das, October 20th 2011
• Former Tory minister “in the pay of the Libyans” claims Labour MP – Ed Jacobs, September 12th 2011
• Al-Megrahi release row: What do we know? – Ed Jacobs, February 7th 2011
• Al Megrahi debate puts Westminster/Holyrood relations under strain – Ed Jacobs, July 21st 2010
• Lockerbie bomber very much alive & set to pen autobiography – Ed Jacobs, July 6th 2010