Lockerbie Verdict Could Be Sent Back to Appeals Court

Almost 20 years after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the case may be sent back to court again this week after claims that evidence was tampered with and withheld from the court.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has been looking at the case for three years, has said it will announce its decision this Thursday whether or not to send the case back to a court of appeals.

Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who was convicted in 2001 of the murders of 270 people, say contradictory statements from a key witness and alleged evidence tampering warrant the case be returned to an appeals court.

Sources knowledgeable about the case tell the Blotter on the commission is likely to side with the defense.

The details of the defense's case were published in Scotland after the documents were leaked to the press. Among the defense's claims are that two initial statements from a key witness, in which he identified a different man as buying a shirt that was found at the scene of the crash and that the prosecution connected to al-Megrahi, were never submitted to the court.

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The defense also claims that some pieces of evidence, including the shirt, were tampered with between the time they were discovered and when they were submitted to the court.

Former FBI agent, Richard Marquise, who led the Lockerbie investigation, disputed those claims.

"There was absolutely nothing manufactured," he told "The defense is throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick."

Marquise expressed dismay he was never interviewed by the commission during their three-year investigation.

"I wish they had come and interviewed me," said Marquise. "As far as I'm concerned, this guy  [al-Megrahi] did it."

Bert Ammerman, who lost his brother in the bombing and led the U.S. victims' relatives group, said another appeal would open old wounds for the families.

"It would mean that some family members would have to travel to the next court hearing to ensure that our love ones are well-represented," Ammerman said in a statement to

But some family members of victims have sided with the defense lawyers and say they believe there was a miscarriage of justice.

"I believe that Megrahi is innocent and should be allowed to go home to his family. He has been through a terrible ordeal," Jim Swire, whose daughter, Flora, was killed in the bombing, told a Scottish newspaper.

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