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 Faster appeal urged for cancer victim Megrahi

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PostSubject: Faster appeal urged for cancer victim Megrahi   Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:11 pm

Calls were made yesterday for the Lockerbie bomber's appeal to be speeded up after it emerged that he is battling "advanced-stage" cancer.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi has been diagnosed with prostate cancer after hospital tests and the disease has spread to other parts of his body, said his solicitor, Tony Kelly.

The former Libyan intelligence agent, now 56, was taken under tight security from Greenock Prison last month to nearby Inverclyde Royal Hospital where it is understood he underwent a scan during an outpatient appointment before being returned to jail.


He is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 27 years after being convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 which led to the deaths of 270 people.

The Libyan, who maintains his innocence, won a legal victory last week when judges ruled that his second appeal could look beyond the issues raised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which suggested he might have suffered a miscarriage of justice. As a result, his legal team hoped that the appeal case would take place at some point next year.

Mr Kelly said it would be "unwise" to attempt to predict how long his client had left to live, but said the appeal process would go on.

The lawyer said: "He Megrahi wishes me to make clear that the fight to overturn his wrongful conviction for the Lockerbie bombing will go on. We on his legal team are continuing to prepare his appeal, which we hope will take place some time next year."

Megrahi's supporters, including Dr Jim Swire, called for the appeal to be heard early in the new year. Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the outrage, was among the first to call for Megrahi's appeal to be speeded up.

Dr Swire said: "If his prognosis is bad, then I hope that the Scottish authorities would look for a way of speeding up the next appeal without compromising the fairness of it."

Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who is convinced of Megrahi's innocence, said there was a "moral obligation" on the courts to speed up the appeal process. He accused the Crown Office of doing "everything possible" to delay the case, an allegation rebutted by the Crown.

Megrahi lost his first appeal in 2002, but was given a fresh opportunity to appeal in June last year when the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred his case to appeal judges for a second time.

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts Service said yesterday that it would consider speeding up the appeal process if and when it received an application to do so from Megrahi and his solicitor.
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