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Thursday, Oct. 09, 2003 at 8:07 PM
from australias SBSD Dateline program 8 oct
But in his denial of responsibility for Lockerbie, Gaddafi has found an unlikely ally in Scotland. Professor Robert Black has campaigned for years to bring the Lockerbie perpetrators to justice. He was instrumental in setting up the trial under Scottish law in The Hague that in January 2001 convicted a Libyan intelligence agent.
PROFESSOR ROBERT BLACK, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH: Yes, it is a betrayal, I feel.
But now Professor Black thinks Adbel Baset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted.
PROFESSOR ROBERT BLACK: It angers me that although the arrangement itself, the actual practicalities of the trial worked perfectly, it's just that, in my view, the outcome was a wholly and utterly perverse verdict.
Professor Black says the main evidence against Megrahi was not only circumstantial, but not credible. It centres around the clothes in the suitcase that contained the bomb. It's alleged Megrahi bought them off a shopkeeper in Malta, thus connecting him to the attack.
PROFESSOR ROBERT BLACK: The shopkeeper at no point ever said "That is the man who bought the clothes." The most that he would say is that "That man resembles a lot the person who bought the clothes in my shop." And he had also in his original statement to the police, the shopkeeper had given a description of the man who bought the clothes. That description was that the man was over 50 years old and that he was over 6 feet tall. Adbel Baset al-Megrahi at the relevant date was 36 years of age and at that date, and still, he is 5 feet 8 inches tall. Nevertheless, on that evidence, the judges held that Adbel Baset al-Megrahi was the person who bought the clothes in the shop.
Many of the British victims' families agree with Professor Black that the verdict was unreliable. To uncover the truth, the families are calling for a full public inquiry. Professor Black wants a retrial. And if that doesn't happen, he's prepared to quit the profession.
PROFESSOR ROBERT BLACK: If our legal and judicial system is not strong enough to recognise that it has made a mistake, and to take the appropriate action to rectify that mistake, then I'm afraid it is a system with which I do not wish to be connected.
Black says he doesn't know who is responsible for the bombing, but says there is other evidence pointing to the radical Palestinian faction, the PFLP General Command and Iran. Gaddafi has always denied that Libya was responsible for Lockerbie. But he's desperate to end Libya's isolation, so desperate that he's willing to pay US billion.
YOUSSEF SAWANI, LIBYAN GOVERNMENT ADVISOR: Even though we paid money for something that we did not commit, we are paying this to buy a licence. Libya needs to be admitted into the world stage, to be looked into as a serious partner that people can do business with.
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