Lockerbie Bomber Deal Sparks Cover-Up Claims

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 9:26 AM CDT
Debris lies in a deep gash through the town of Lockerbie, Scotland, caused by the crash of PanAm flight 103, in this Dec. 22, 1988 file photo.    (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – News that the Lockerbie bomber has dropped his appeal amid reports that he's about to be released on compassionate grounds has critics smelling a back-room deal and a cover-up, the Times of London reports. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, is expected to be sent back to Libya soon from his Scottish prison. Some victims' relatives and others say Scottish authorities cut the deal to avoid a new trial, which could have exposed flaws in the original.

Critics say Megrahi's 2001 trial relied on flawed evidence and maintain he could not have carried out the attack alone. An appeal would be the best chance to address the lingering doubts. If Megrahi abandons his appeal, one Scottish politician said, "it means that Lockerbie will be one of those mysteries like the assassination of President Kennedy that will remain unsolved for a long time—possibly forever.”