Lockerbie bomber buried as David Cameron dismisses fresh inquiry calls

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, has been buried with little fanfare near Tripoli.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 21st May 2012, 7:49 pm

Just under 100 family members and passers-by were at the funeral, the day after Megrahi died.

The quiet funeral stands in stark contrast to the hero’s welcome Megrahi received three years ago when he returned to Libya after serving eight years of a life sentence in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed calls for a fresh inquiry into his conviction.

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Megrahi died yesterday at his home in Tripoli, two years and nine months after he was released from prison in Scotland on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and given an estimated three months to live.

The former Libyan intelligence officer had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, which claimed 270 lives.

Megrahi always proclaimed his innocence and his death sparked renewed calls from campaigners for an independent inquiry into his conviction.

But Mr Cameron said: “This has been thoroughly gone through. There was a proper process, a proper court proceeding. We have to give people the chance to mourn those that were lost.”

However, First Minister Alex Salmond said it was open to Megrahi’s relatives to seek a further appeal if they wished.

And he stressed that, with Megrahi being the only person ever convicted of the bombing, the Lockerbie case remained a live investigation.

He said: “Scotland’s criminal justice authorities have made clear that they will rigorously pursue any new lines of inquiry. Scotland’s senior law officer the Lord Advocate recently visited Libya, and we have been offered the co- operation of the new Libyan authorities. It has always been the Crown’s position that Mr Megrahi did not act alone but with others.”

News of Megrahi’s death divided opinion among relatives of those who died in the atrocity.

American Susan Cohen, whose lost her daughter Theodora, said: “He died with his family around him. My daughter died a horrible death when she was 20 years old with her full life ahead of her. You call that justice? I feel no pity for Megrahi, I believe he should have died a lot sooner. He should have been tried in the States and given the death penalty. Watching him be released from prison was very painful for me.

“I detest Megrahi, he was monstrous, and I hope his death was extremely painful and horrible.”

However, David Ben-Ayreah, a spokesman for some of the British families who lost loved ones, described Megrahi as the “271st victim of Lockerbie”.

Martin Cadman, from Norfolk, whose son Bill died in the flight at the age of 32, said: “The only thing I am interested in is getting to the truth. The Americans know far more than they have said.”

Jean Berkley, whose lost her son Alistair, said Megrahi’s death would not change her determination to see a full public inquiry.

She said: “I would say our focus has never been on Megrahi, he is part of a much larger picture. His death does not change anything and we still want an inquiry. There are still all these unanswered questions and his death doesn’t change that.”