Web Issue 3327 December 10 2008   

The Herald

Megrahi’s daughter: ‘I want to be a lawyer to help people like my dad’
LUCY ADAMS, Chief ReporterDecember 10 2008
AT HOME: Aisha Megrahi with her children - Motasem, 11, Mohamed, 16, Khalid, 22, and daughter Ghada, 25. Ali, 14, declined to be photographed.
AT HOME: Aisha Megrahi with her children - Motasem, 11, Mohamed, 16, Khalid, 22, and daughter Ghada, 25. Ali, 14, declined to be photographed.

The daughter of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing today reveals that she is training to be a lawyer to fight against miscarriages of justice.

Ghada Megrahi, 25, speaks out with her four brothers for the first time to reveal the impact the case has had on their lives and their conviction that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is innocent.

In their first interview with any media organisation, Megrahi's five children talk candidly of the father who has been missing from family life for more than nine years, and ask Scottish ministers to grant him bail on compassionate grounds.

They explain the difficulties of moving from their home in Tripoli to Newton Mearns outside Glasgow when none of them spoke English, and the frustration of only being able to visit him for half an hour each week.

Ghada, Megrahi's eldest child, says: "I want to go into law because of what happened to my father and people like him who are wrongly accused. I've finished my undergraduate law course and now want to do a postgraduate."

She also reveals the heartbreak of having to marry her husband, Mohamed, inside Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow so that her father could be present.

The five children's exclusive interview with The Herald is published the day after their mother made an emotional plea to ministers to set her husband free.

In her first full interview with any media organisation since Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in September, Aisha Megrahi said: "Please release him so he can spend what little days he has left at home with his family."

Last month, appeal court judges ruled that her husband should not be released on bail while his lengthy appeal process continues, provoking fears that Megrahi will die in jail before his case can be heard.

His defence team is now expected to apply to the Scottish Government to release him from HMP Greenock on compassionate grounds.

On Friday, supporters plan to launch the Justice For Megrahi campaign to persuade ministers to agree to Megrahi's release. His original appeal at Camp Zeist was rejected in 2002 but fresh evidence has now come to light.

After a three-and-a-half-year investigation, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to court for a fresh appeal based on six separate grounds which indicate it may be a miscarriage of justice.

Since then, there have been numerous hearings and delays and the appeal itself is not expected to begin until next year.

Professor Robert Black, one of the architects of the original trial at Camp Zeist and a member of the campaign committee, said it was positive to hear the views of Megrahi's family.

"There have been, quite rightly, interviews with the relatives of victims, but it is absolutely great to hear from Megrahi's family," he said.

"Whether he is innocent or not, the focus of the campaign is on getting him released on compassionate grounds so he can spend some time at home with his family.

"Those involved in the campaign do believe he is innocent, but I think even those who are unsure would probably think he should be released on bail pending the appeal."

As news of the interview with Megrahi's wife spread on blog and news sites around the world, some of the relatives of the 270 victims of Lockerbie expressed concerns at a National Geographic Channel TV programme on Monday evening which re-created the explosion.

It showed computer- generated scenes of the fireball smashing into Lockerbie, with the church steeple clearly visible among the flames.

The one-hour programme, made to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing on December 21, also involved actors playing out the final moments of some of the flight crew and passengers on board the aircraft.

One relative, who does not wish to be named, said: "I feel very strongly that this shapes up to be an appalling breach of any reasonable interpretation of good taste.

"To see a re-creation and for profit at that. There must be limits to the acceptance of the American way': mass murder should call out respect for the memory of the poor souls caught up in it."

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