Jim Swire was not the only one to think so. Many lawyers see Megrahi's conviction as a classic miscarriage of justice. Many mistakes were made in conducting the investigation, collecting evidence and presenting the case in court. One of the biggest and most evident flows was to believe the testimony of Gauci, who revealed that he had seen Megrahi's image in a newspaper before he was interrogated, and this, according to experts, makes his account less credible. There was even a piece of circulating information - later denied - that Gauci received remuneration for helping with the investigation. The fact that he lived near Gauci's shop in Malta was taken as evidence against Megrahi - another serious mistake.
However, the cardinal error is related to determining where the suitcase with the bomb landed on the plane. In Frankfurt, says the FBI. Others believe it happened while the plane was parked at Heathrow when passengers' luggage was unattended. The interrogated airport employee testified that after returning from a short break, he noticed a brown suitcase among the luggage, which - he was sure - had not been there before.
Nonsense from beginning to end
Since the suitcase was placed on the plane in London, Megrahi could not have had anything to do with loading it. That's why Jim Swire believed in his innocence from the beginning, visited him in prison, and when in 2009 Megrahi was released - because he had prostate cancer and, according to doctors, had only a few months to live - he also visited him in Tripoli. He also attended the funeral when Megrahi died three years later. "After all" - he explained - "if I had been convinced about his guilt, I would have never done it".
Many family members of the British disaster victims perceive this matter in the same way as Jim Swire. They joined forces long ago in the organisation called Justice for Megrahi. Its work was supported by many people, e.g. former Scottish Police Superintendent Iain McKie, who just like Swire, lost his daughter in the attack. Other people, such as Desmond Tutu, were not personally involved but believed in the triumph of justice.
British families are different from American families in this respect. Americans trust investigators and welcomed Abu Massoud's arrest, and are now seeking to be able to observe the trial, at least remotely.
Jim Swire does not believe that Masud is guilty, as he did not admit anything during his interrogation in America. "It's not him," he stated in a conversation with the journalist of the Daily Telegraph. Now, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the tragedy, the newspaper has devoted an extensive report to his private investigation. He added, "What we're being told about Lockerbie is absolute nonsense from beginning to end".
In this reportage, Jim Swire also revealed, for the first time, the words with which Megrahi said goodbye to him before his death: "I'm going where I hope to meet Flora soon. And I will tell her that her father is my friend".
The investigators ignored the testimony of the Heathrow employee, the same as they neglected the information in the calendar of the Egyptian Abu Talba - who was detained in Sweden a few weeks before the attack and was associated with the radical faction of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - where a border surrounded December 21. According to Jim Swire and others, Abu Talb could have delivered the bomb at Iran's request.
However, another signal that the American Embassy in Helsinki received at that time was not ignored. An anonymous caller informed by phone that an attack would be carried out on an American plane before Christmas. This information was kept secret from the public, but embassy employees and senior officials were quietly advised to avoid American Airlines.
The huge jumbo jet, flying to New York three days before Christmas, was half empty when planes were always crowded at that time. As a result, Flora Swire easily bought a ticket. Therefore, those who concealed such important information are also to be blamed.
– Teresa Stylińska
TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and journalists
– Translated by Katarzyna Chocian