LAWYERS representing the family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan man jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, are to begin a fight against his conviction on Friday - with a call for better transparency.

Megrahi, who died in 2012, was the only person convicted for the bombing which killed 243 passengers and 16 crew on Pan Am Flight 103 as it travelled from London to New York. Eleven people on the ground in Lockerbie also lost their lives in what was the biggest terrorist attack on British soil.

Libyan national Megrahi, who denied involvement, was jailed for life for mass murder by three Scottish judges at a special court sitting in the Netherlands in 2001.

Now an appeal is being started after a Scottish commission ruled a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

On Friday a procedural hearing in an appeal against conviction will start presided over by Scotland’s most senior judge the Lord President – Lord Carloway along with the Lord Justice Clerk-Lady Dorian and Lord Menzies.

The hearing will take place by means of WEBEX, a video conferencing online application.

The judges will appear on screen and appeal legal team will appear from a facility in Glasgow.

Appeal lawyer Aamer Anwar (below)  on behalf of the family of the late Al-Megrahi said they need to move the court to consider granting authority to see certain "important" documents "over which public interest immunity is asserted".

He said: "Our argument is that public interest immunity certificate is not everlasting, it has been 31 years since the bombing and the UK Government represented by the Advocate General should justify why it is still asserting PII and denying full disclosure of this information to our team."

HeraldScotland: Aamer Anwar photographed at his offices in Calton Place for The Sunday Herald.....Photograph by Martin Shields .Tel 07572 457000.www.martinshields.com.© Martin Shields.....FEE PAYABLE FOR REPRO USE.NB -This image is not to be distributed without the pr

He added: "We are disappointed that the Scottish Government, the UK Government, the United States and other foreign governments have refused consent to disclose matters which at this time remain redacted in papers disclosed to us."

Mr Anwar has said the grounds for the family’s appeal were “substantial”.

Megrahi’s son, Ali al-Megrahi, called the original trial “unfair” and added: “We have faith that justice will win in the end and overturn the unlawful verdict.”

The Scottish Criminal cases review commission in March issued a 419-page decision saying that “further information” provided grounds for appeal.

The commission cited an “unreasonable verdict” and “non-disclosure” in the handling of the case.

The Scottish government approved Megrahi’s release from prison on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he was suffering from prostate cancer.

He died in Libya three years later.

The appeal was commenced in 2007 but following the diagnosis of terminal cancer it was suddenly abandoned in 2009.

Mr Anwar's office says that it is widely claimed that the Lockerbie bombing was ordered by Iran and carried out by a Syrian based terrorist group in retaliation for a US Navy strike on an Iranian Airbus six months earlier, in which 290 people died.

Mr Anwar said: "The reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system has suffered badly both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi; he was convicted in a Scottish court of law and that is the only appropriate place for his guilt or innocence to be determined.

"A reversal of the verdict would have meant that the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom stand accused of having lived a monumental lie for 31 years, imprisoning a man they knew to be innocent and punishing the Libyan people for a crime which they did not commit."

He said the Appeal Court in a judgment in July 2015, ruled that the relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims would not be allowed to pursue an appeal on behalf of the only man convicted of the crime.

The families did not give up and in July 2017 a further application was lodged with the Commission on behalf of the Al-Megrahi family.

"There can be never be a time limit on justice, the families who support this appeal have never given up their search for the truth," said Mr Anwar. "On March 11th 2020, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission decided that Mr Megrahi’s case should be referred to the High Court for the determination.

Magrahi's legal team  submitted "serious allegations" of the failure of the Crown to disclose evidence which Mr Anwar's team say have been key to the defence and "interfered with the right to a fair trial".

Mr Anwar's team said the Crown "failed in its duty of disclosure" of relevant material to Mr Al Megrahi’s defence team prior to trial.

"This prejudiced the defence in their preparation and conduct of the trial to such an extent that the Commission have concluded that this may have given rise to a miscarriage of justice," they said.

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