25 October 2010
Cardinal to sign Lockerbie petition.
Cardinal Keith O Brien will add his name to an online petition 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 270 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.
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Note to Editors:
Cardinal O'Brien will sign the petition at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday 26 October 2010) at 12.30 pm together with Dr. Jim Swire. For further information on the photo opportunity contact Dr. Swire on: 07768 571917
The ˜Justice for Megrahi Committee will Hand over the Petition to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 26 October 2010
12.00 hrs Dr Jim Swire, and committee members Professor Bob Black, Robert Forrester and Iain McKie meet outside the main entrance to the Parliament.
12.30 hrs Photo Call: Dr Swire and the above hand over the petition to
representatives of the Petition's Committee in the Garden Lobby inside
Parliament together with Cardinbal O'Brien.
12.45 hrs Statement from Dr Swire and questions.
¢ Conference Arrangements:
Iain McKie : Telephone: +44 (0) 1292 880279 / Mob: 07731488004
Jim Swire: Telephone: Mobile - 07768571917
Robert Forrester: Telephone: 44 (0) 1228 792838/ Mob: 07981716177