THE 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie air disaster was marked at the weekend: a Pan Am flight from London to New York exploded at 31'000 feet above the Scottish village, scattering bodies and debris over it and killing villagers. Many aspects of this tragedy have been concluded satisfactorily, except perhaps in the minds of those directly affected, but one remains to be settled conclusively. From the start the assumption was that the explosion had been caused by a bomb, probably one placed or carried by a Libyan acting on his government's orders. After years of denial Col Gaddafi accepted responsibility, paid compensation to victims and produced a suspect, one Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, who was eventually found guilty by a special court of Scottish judges sitting in the Hague on 270 counts of murder for his part in the bombing. Last year al-Megrahi's defence lawyers were given leave by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to appeal against his conviction. The Commission thought there were six grounds for believing a miscarriage of justice may have taken place, one of which concerned the reliability of a key witness. The hearing is due to be held in three or four months but his lawyers have already claimed that they are being denied access to papers in the possession of the police. The case seems endless - especially for al-Megrahi who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.


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