THE family of an Asian waiter murdered 13 years ago was betrayed by the Scottish justice system because of the colour of his skin, a lawyer has claimed.

Aamer Anwar, who represents the family of Surjit Singh Chhokar, was speaking at a press conference in the Scottish Parliament.

He was accompanied by Mr Chokkar's sister Manjit Sangha, who dabbed tears from her eyes as she made an emotional plea for the killers to be brought to justice. She said new double jeopardy laws in Scotland had given the family hope and that had been boosted after Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland agreed to meet them.

She added: "People will have forgotten Surjit's name, yet the darkness of his murder still shadows our lives.

"I am extremely sad my father, Darshan Singh Chhokar, cannot be by my side. This is because he is extremely ill with cancer, but his last wish is that justice can be done. My family simply want the Lord Advocate to bring Surjit's killers to court."

Mr Chhokar was stabbed to death outside the home he shared with his girlfriend in Overtown, Lanarkshire, in November 1998.

Three men were eventually arrested but, despite two trials, no-one was ever convicted over the killing.

It has been compared to the Stephen Lawrence case in London, which also sparked controversy after the failure of the authorities to secure a conviction. However, new evidence and a change to the double jeopardy law led to David Norris and Gary Dobson being given life sentences earlier this month after being found guilty of the race hate murder of Mr Lawrence 18 years ago.

Mr Anwar said: "Surjit's family believes the verdicts were an indictment of the Scottish legal system and that they were betrayed by a justice system because of the colour of their skin. A hope for justice is all the Chhokar family live for"

He called for an immediate review of the case and for the three previous suspects – Ronnie Coulter, Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery – to be re-interviewed by police. He said evidence should be reviewed and forensic skills developed since that time applied.

Mr Anwar warned: "Just as in the Stephen Lawrence case, the killers of Surjit Singh Chhokar should not rest easy in their beds.

"The family have no desire to re-start the campaign and trust the Crown Office will be determined to secure justice, if at all possible, so Surjit Singh Chhokar can finally rest in peace."

Former Strathclyde assistant chief constable Graeme Pearson, now a Labour MSP, said the murder was "unfinished business". He added: "The unsatisfactory conclusion of the trials 13 years ago has left a bad taste in everybody's mouth.

"The introduction of new legislation which allows double jeopardy and the reconsideration of cases such as the Chhokar case is a breath of fresh air to the legal system and offers an opportunity for the Crown to address a number of cases which lie in the system which need to be resolved. Surjit Singh Chhokar is one of those cases."

SNP MSP Humza Yousaf, who organised the press conference and who is a member of Holyrood's Justice Committee, said: "There has been a change of attitude, be it from the Crown Office or others. People want this case resolved."

A Crown Office spokesman said Mr Mulholland and Solicitor General Lesley Thomson would meet the family on Thursday of next week.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said they would re-open the case if instructed to do so by the Crown Office.