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Scottish Cardinal to sign Lockerbie petition

Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Cardinal Keith O’Brien will add his name to an online petition on Tuesday, calling for an Independent inquiry to be set up by the Scottish Parliament into the 2001 conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

The petition which closes on 28 October 2010 will be submitted to the Parliament for consideration. Commenting on his decision to sign the petition, Cardinal O’Brien said: "Earlier this year, I described the murder of 243 innocent people on  board Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988  as an act of unbelievable horror and gratuitous barbarity. Many legal consequences flowed from that act culminating in the conviction of a Libyan citizen, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing. From the moment that verdict was announced, voices have been raised in protest. Over the years the clamour has grown amongst, lawyers, politicians, academics and growing numbers of ordinary citizens that the verdict amounted to a miscarriage of justice.”

Cardinal O’Brien added: “I do not claim to have examined all the evidence in this case, far from it, but I do claim to be increasingly concerned about the reputation of the Scottish Justice system. I have defended publicly the system of justice in this country and have done so because it enjoys my support and confidence. Global accusations of wrongful conviction made against our system must be dealt with. Left unheeded they will weaken the administration of justice in Scotland by casting doubts on its probity and ability. I believe the best way to remedy this is for the Scottish Parliament to launch an Independent inquiry into the 2001 conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

"Regardless of the outcome I believe Scotland’s Justice System would be strengthened by such a process. Either a conviction will be upheld and the process vindicated or it will be struck down, demonstrating to the world that Scotland has the wisdom and compassion needed to rectify its mistakes. In either event I will willingly accept the outcome.”

Source: SCMO