Saturday, September 26, 2009

Worst.Trial.Evar.

LRB · Gareth Peirce: The Framing of al-Megrahi
Even if the science that convicted al-Megrahi had not offended against every minimum standard, then the second pillar of the prosecution case, his identification by Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper, would remain spectacular in its noncompliance with any safeguard. He described al-Megrahi as ‘6’0’’’ (he was 5’8’’), ‘50 years old’ (he was 37), and ‘hefty’; said that he ‘had been to the shop before and after’, ‘had been there only once’; that he ‘saw him in a bar months later’; that he ‘will sign statement even though I don’t speak English’; that al-Megrahi ‘was similar but not identical’, ‘perhaps like him but not fully like him’, and, fatally for any identification of al-Megrahi in the first place, that he was ‘like the man in the Sunday Times’ (in other words, like Abu Talb, whose picture Gauci had initially identified). But Gauci’s evidence was needed and, reports suggest, handsomely rewarded. He apparently now lives in Australia, supported by millions of US dollars.
Wow. This piece really blew my mind, I'm a bit overwhelmed. Articles like this are often long winded with only tenuous suspicions that things weren't quite right, but pretty much every paragraph here contains evidence that blows the trial wide open. Whilst it by no means proves that Megrahi was innocent, it proves by a long way that this was one of the most farcical and corrupt trials ever, and no conclusions it made can be taken seriously.