LONDON -- Scotland's criminal appeals body said Wednesday that the family of a Libyan man jailed for the 1988 bombing of an American airliner over the town of Lockerbie can launch a posthumous appeal against his conviction.
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission said the family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is “entitled to instruct" an appeal against his 2001 conviction for blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988. The bombing killed all 259 people aboard the plane and another 11 on the ground.
The family will now take its case to Scotland's High Court for determination.
Commission chief executive Gerard Sinclair said “it will be for the appeal court to decide whether there has been a miscarriage of justice in this case.”
Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, lost one appeal and abandoned another before being freed in 2009 on compassionate grounds.
He died of cancer in 2012, still protesting his innocence. His family has sought to overturn the murder conviction, citing concerns about the evidence, including doubts about the timer alleged to have detonated the bomb.
“This is the second time that the commission has carried out what I believe has been a rigorous and independent review of this particular conviction, and we note that since our last review, further information has become available," said Bill Matthews, chairman of the review commission.
The case of Al-Megrahi's family is supported by the families of some Lockerbie victims, who say the full truth about the bombing has not emerged.
At a news conference, family lawyer Aamer Anwar read a statement from al-Megrahi's son, Ali.
“Finally my family has hope that our father's name will be cleared. I am grateful to all those who have supported my family in their long struggle for justice,” he said.