Appeal into Lockerbie bomb conviction begins

AN APPEAL into the conviction of a Libyan man jailed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie got under way in a packed courtroom yesterday.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, has spent 10 years behind bars for the terrorist attack that killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

The appeal is being heard by five judges at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were prosecuted in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2001 for the December 21, 1988 bombing, which killed all 259 people aboard the London to New York flight and 11 people on the ground.

Fhimah was acquitted.

Margaret Scott, Al-Megrahi�s lawyer, said the case against her client was flawed. �No jury � properly directed � could have convicted him beyond all reasonable doubt.�

Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan secret service agent, has maintained his innocence.

While he lost an appeal in 2002, he was granted another one two years ago following a major legal review.

The hearing is initially set for the next four weeks, but is expected to last up to a year.

Al-Megrahi is following the proceedings by a closed circuit television link between the court and Greenock Prison, near Glasgow.

Scott said he was undergoing a new course of treatment for his cancer.

Relatives of the victims are divided over al-Megrahi�s conviction.

Some British families have said they think he is innocent, but relatives of US victims have said he is guilty and should remain in jail.


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