The following release has been sent out in the wake of this morning’s launch of Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Still Matters.
Lockerbie 25th anniversary:
Will Scotland head for independence with a justice system the country can’t believe in? Will the politicians of Scotland continue to ignore 270 innocent victims?
Leading author joins voices with bereaved father to accuse Crown Office and Scottish Government of protecting murderers
At a press conference this morning, Dr Jim Swire, the father of a woman killed in the Lockerbie bombing, made his most outspoken attack on the Scottish authorities over their handling of the case. Speaking at the launch of a new book Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Still Matters, which marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing, Dr Swire said:
“It is Scotland’s shame that our judicial prosecution system is cowering behind its privileges in a brazen attempt to continue to block all reasonable allegations of its previous failures. In doing so it destroys its own credibility, demeans our country, and protects those who really were responsible for the murders of our families almost 25 years ago.”
“… of course there is still time for the SNP to announce an enquiry before this scandal undermines the referendum assuming it has not already done so and threatens independence. But this is much more than party politics and the 270 victims deserve more from our politicians.”
John Ashton, biographer of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, and author of this new book: Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Still Matters, brands the case the greatest scandal of Scotland’s post-devolution era.
At the press conference this morning he stated:
“The conduct of the Scottish criminal justice system – and the Crown Office in particular – in the Lockerbie case has hugely undermined the public’s trust in it. This raises a fundamental question: if people don’t trust Scotland’s foremost independent institution, will they trust an independent Scottish government? I believe that this is why the current government has tried to keep a lid on the scandal by refusing a public inquiry in to the Crown Office’s conduct. It’s a significant miscalculation by Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill, because they would only gain public trust by granting an inquiry.”
He also questioned Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland’s position:
“ Despite the fact that we now know that the Crown withheld numerous items of important evidence from Megrahi’s defence team, the current Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has refused to acknowledge that anything went wrong. Furthermore, he has failed to order the police to follow up new witness evidence that undermines the prosecution case. Instead he has engaged in bluster and distortions and has smeared his critics by branding them conspiracy theorists. I believe that, if he continues in this vein, he will no longer be fit for office.”
In this new book, Ashton argues that the evidence against Megrahi was so weak that the charges should never have been brought and that the guilty verdict against him was blatantly unreasonable. It also describes how the Crown Office withheld crucial evidence from Megrahi’s defence team and how successive Scottish governments have turned a blind eye to the scandal. It demonstrates that, as a consequence of these failings, the real bombers went free and the Libyan people were unjustly subjected to seven years of biting UN sanctions.
John Ashton will also release documents hithero unseen over the next few weeks:
‘These are the documents that the Crown didn’t want you to see. I am making them public because, after 25 years, the authorities are still trying to keep a lid on this scandal.’