Very few people will not know what happened in the small Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. On 21 December 1988 a devastating act of terror unfolded as Pan Am flight 103 was blown up over the town with the loss of 270 lives. In 2001 Libyan Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was jailed for life following an 84-day trial under Scots law, at Camp Zeist, Netherlands.
Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi has had his case referred back to the Criminal Appeal Court in Edinburgh by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. This appeal process, to date, has been highly sensitive and surrounds documents held by the United Kingdom Government, which are secret on the grounds of National Security.
Counsel for the appellant (Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi) are trying to get access to the documents as they may help the appellant’s appeal. However, the UK Government has argued that handing over the documents is not in the national interest. The Criminal Appeal Court now has to make several decisions surrounding these documents.
Yesterday the Lord Justice-General, Lord Hamilton, ordered that these documents be handed over to the court, with appropriate security in place, within 7 days. Three judges in “closed session” will then hear the objections to the handover of the documents.
The Advocate General (UK Government’s principal legal adviser on Scots law) has been making the Public Interest Immunity (PII) proposals to the court.
This appeal is going to be a very long and complex one with many sensitive issues that will stretch into 2009. I will keep blogging on this key appeal as it progresses.