Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Lockerbie review may be published

Megrahi
Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008

Some details of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission's review into the case of the Lockerbie bomber may be made public next year.

The commission investigation concluded Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's conviction may have been unsafe.

The Scottish government has passed an order through the Criminal Procedure Act 1995 that would allow information to be released in February 2010.

Megrahi was jailed for life in 2001 for the 1988 bombing.

It is thought the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) will not be able to reveal much of the detail of its considerable research, since those who provided the information must give their consent.

Gerard Sinclair, the SCCRC chief executive, said: "The Statutory Instrument permits the commission to disclose information only with the consent of those who have provided the information.

With Megrahi's death we will never know whether if he is truly innocent as he protests and as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Board considered he might be, or guilty as a Scottish court convicted him
Pamela Dix
Lockerbie victim's relative

"In considering whether it is entitled to disclose information, the commission will also have to have regard to other relevant matters, including the European Court of Human Rights, and data protection legislation and all other relevant law."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "The Scottish government has always been clear that as much information as possible in this case is published where relevant and where appropriate consents are given.

"The order laid today allows the SCCRC to disclose information it holds and it is now for them to decide what, if anything, they release."

First Minister Alex Salmond has also welcomed the move which came on the 21st anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster.

Meanwhile, the condition of Megrahi, who has prostate cancer, has deteriorated.

The 57-year-old was released from prison in Scotland in August and returned to Libya on compassionate grounds.

He had been convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, in which 270 died.

His release came days after his second appeal against conviction, which had been brought about by the SCCRC report, was dropped.

The Tripoli Medical Centre in Libya said at the weekend that a scan had shown the cancer had spread throughout his body.

When he was repatriated he was believed to have a three-month life expectancy.

'Immensely frustrating'

The hospital said that Megrahi arrived there on Saturday coughing and vomiting, and he is said to be suffering from the secondary effects of chemotherapy sessions.

The bulletin said: "A scan has shown a worsening of the disease which has spread more than before."

A Lockerbie relative, Pamela Dix, said the reports of Megrahi's worsening condition added to the continuing ordeal of relatives still seeking answers.

Ms Dix, whose brother Peter was among the dead, said: "It really builds the extreme sense of frustration that this whole year has brought.

"The lack of resolution around the criminal aspect of Lockerbie is almost now complete."

She told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "With Megrahi's death we will never know whether if he is truly innocent as he protests and as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Board considered he might be, or guilty as a Scottish court convicted him."

And she said: "I just find it immensely frustrating to have to sit here in the middle and not know."

Meanwhile, the first minister is to be questioned by the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster next month.

The committee is investigating co-operation and communication between the Scotland and UK governments - and in particular how this worked in the case of the Lockerbie bomber.

Also giving evidence with Mr Salmond on 10 January will be Sir John Elvidge, the Scottish government`s permanent secretary and most senior civil servant.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who granted Megrahi's application for compassionate early release on health grounds, will be questioned by the committee after Mr Salmond.



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