A return to the Lockerbie bombing
Since all evidence points to Libya and denounces Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's regime, the reopening of investigations and trial no longer makes sense
“26 years have passed... It is a very long time. Many people died and stories were forgotten…”
This is also the view of the victims’ parents who died on the U.S. plane that exploded over the Scottish village of Lockerbie. This crime represents an important mark in the history of terrorism against international civil aviation. Since all evidence points to Libya and denounces Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's regime, the reopening of investigations and trial no longer makes sense. Qaddafi, the prime suspect, was killed by his nationals who revolted against him in October 2011.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only Libyan who was convicted and imprisoned, died of cancer in his home in Tripoli after he was released due to his severe illness one year after the Libyan revolution. The question is: was Megrahi really involved in that crime or was he a scapegoat at the time, to satisfy international investigators? Up until he reached his deathbed, Megrahi kept proclaiming that he was innocent and that he didn’t have any secrets, but was he a victim like the rest of Lockerbie victims?
Since all evidence points to Libya and denounces Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's regime, the reopening of investigations and trial no longer makes senseAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Tens of thousands were killed in Libya. However, no one can give a precise number because, unlike Syria, there are no organizations that are able to monitor and document the events in Libya during the four troubled years throughout the ongoing war. Amid the continuing chaos, no one should ask to reopen an old investigation and hold accountable those who participated in the planning and execution of the bombing of the Pan Am flight, that was heading from London to New York in late 1988. The crime was committed by a regime that was headed by one person who is fully responsible for a huge number of crimes in Libya and around the world. Qaddafi and many of his men have died. Those who are left are either in prisons or hiding behind tribal organizations in search of protection. Justice has been served although many innocent Libyans were falsely tried because of ongoing disorder in the country.
Due to massive destruction and a rising death toll since the Libyan revolution, Libyans, who have suffered decades of persecution from Qaddafi’s regime, no longer want to talk about the injustice of that era. They are now complaining about the militias and terrorists replacing Qaddafi's secret police.
If the goal of re-opening investigations into the Pan Am bombing was to find out whether Megrahi was innocent, or whether there were other governments involved in the planning and execution of the attack, then the move is justified.
However, if this was done is order to serve selective justice, while ignoring the crisis and killings in Libya today, this will be greater injustice. Searching for suspects in a crime committed 26 years ago, and stems from a country whose people are calling on the world to help end a tragedy that is still haunting them in the post-Qaddafi era, should be condemned.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 17, 2016.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.