Scotland welcomes Megrahi files

March 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 27 (UPI) -- The publication of documents related to the Lockerbie bomber narrows areas of dispute better than a formal inquiry would, the Scottish first minister said.

The Sunday Herald in Scotland published online an 821-page report from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The report states that several pieces of evidence were withheld in the case against former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted of carrying out the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The SCCRC said the trial could have had a different outcome if the evidence had been available to the defense at trial.

Megrahi was released from prison by Scottish officials in August 2009 on compassion grounds because of a terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. Megrahi said in a December interview reported in The Guardian newspaper and other British outlets that he's "an innocent man."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said he welcomed the publication, noting his government has been "doing everything" to facilitate the release.

"While the report shows that there were six grounds on which it believed a miscarriage of justice may have occurred, it also rejected 45 of the 48 grounds submitted by Megrahi and in particular it upheld the forensic basis of the case leading to Malta and to Libyan involvement," Salmond said in a statement.

A spokesman for Edinburgh was quoted by the BBC in September as saying it decided that Megrahi acted as a member of the former regime's intelligence service, adding he likely didn't act alone.

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