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Secret Lockerbie Documents Will Remain Sealed

UK government says releasing them would damage national security
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2020 12:46 PM CST

(Newser) – The family of the only person convicted in the deadliest terror attack in British history say documents held by the UK government could clear his name—but the government is refusing to unseal them. Scotland's most senior judges have ruled to uphold the secrecy order for documents connected to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people, the Guardian reports. Earlier this year, the family of former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died in 2012, was granted permission to posthumously appeal his conviction. They say the secret papers will prove that the bombing was actually carried out by a Syria-based extremist group called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, acting on orders from Iran.

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The documents, which allegedly name a Jordanian intelligence agent as the bomb-maker, are believed to have been sent by King Hussein of Jordan, per the Guardian. When he issued the order protecting the documents, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said releasing them to the defense would harm national security, the National reports. "The documents were provided in confidence to the United Kingdom Government by another state," Raab said. "Disclosure of the documents would harm the United Kingdom's international relations with that state." In a 2007 ruling, however, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission said the documents raised questions about al-Megrahi's conviction. His appeal at the time was abandoned before he was released on compassionate grounds in 2009. (Read more Lockerbie stories.)

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