Victim’s father pleads for ‘bomber’

The father of one of the Lockerbie victims has made fresh calls to release the man convicted of the atrocity.

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died when the Pam Am flight 103 exploded over the small Scottish town, has defended the man convicted of her murder.

Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who is terminally ill, have said there is a compelling case to release him on compassionate grounds because he is nearing death.

But prosecutors at a hearing last week argued the gravity of the offence means that he should remain in jail.

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bombing on December 21, Dr Swire spoke of his campaign to clear al-Megrahi – who is suffering from prostate cancer – and find the real killers of his daughter.

Medical student Flora, aged 23, had been flying out to see her boyfriend in the US when the plane exploded over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.

All 259 passengers and crew on board died. A further 11 people on the ground also perished.

For the next 13 years the former Worcestershire doctor battled to bring chief suspect al-Megrahi to trial, even risking his life by holding secret meetings with Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

Yet he became convinced the wrong man was in the dock after the Libyan was eventually convicted in 2001.

“I think a lot about whether Flora would have approved of what I am doing but I believe she would have,’’ he said.

Dr Swire met al-Megrahi, 56, after he was jailed for life and says he still feels guilt over his part in bringing him to trial.

Over the years he has become convinced the Libyans were not involved but Iran and Syria.