ALEX Salmond has cast doubt on the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber, suggesting it was based on evidence that was “open to question”.

The former First Minister – who was in office when Abdelbaset al Megrahi was controversially freed from prison on compassionate grounds – said it was possible “for someone to be guilty, yet wrongly convicted”.

He made the comments after interviewing former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, who came under fire for releasing Megrahi in 2009, on his Russian TV chat show.

Mr Salmond has failed to secure support from his own party for his show on RT, globally regarded as a disinformation network, with Nicola Sturgeon's spokesman saying ministers would not appear.
The UN Congress this week withdrew the credentials of RT journalists to cover its proceedings.

Mr Salmond said: “As Kenny MacAskill has told us he made his decision to release Mr Megrahi according to the law of Scotland and on compassionate grounds.

“Here is my view: Is it possible for someone to be guilty, yet wrongly convicted? Yes it is.

“Kenny MacAskill was correct, the forensic evidence complied by the Scottish authorities and the FBI clearly identified Libyan involvement and Malta as the place where the bomb was planted.

“Mr Megrahi was a high ranking Libyan intelligence official on the scene at the time. This supports the charge that he, acting with others, was part of the Lockerbie conspiracy.

“However, his conviction was not just based on the strength of that evidence but on identification evidence which is to say the least open to question.

“Back in 2009 Kenny MacAskill was aware of this, as was I as Scotland’s First Minister. And we were aware of something else – the total cynicism of some of those who attacked the Scottish Government for our decision.

“Throughout this period the British government, of first Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, were secretly acting to promote Mr Megrahi’s release. And not on the grounds of compassion or justice, but for trade, for big business and for oil. Such is State hypocrisy.”

A total of 270 people died when a bomb went off on Pan Am Flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al Megrahi was jailed for life following the terror attack, but later released after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Campaigners – including some of the victims’ relatives – have long called his guilt into question.

A spokeswoman for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had full confidence in Megrahi’s conviction.

Liz Wahl, RT's former US anchor who resigned after denouncing its coverage of the invasion of Ukraine, has prevousily highlighted the channel's appetite for stories which appear to cast institutions in the US and Britain in to poor light.

She said: "The aim is to create confusion and sow distrust in Western governments and institutions by reporting anything which seems to discredit the West."