A MALTESE theatre director has
expressed an interest in staging The Lockerbie
Malta-based Herman Grech is in discussions with writer
Alan Clark about presenting the play in Valletta later
The bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie killed
270 people and was the worst terrorist atrocity in the
UK. Now, for the first time, the horrific tragedy has
been brought to the stage in this new work which attempts
to lift the veil of secrecy thrown over the bombing
by successive Governments and security services. The
Libyan, Al-Megrahi, the only person to be convicted
of carrying out the atrocity, died last year.
Mr Grech, who is also Head of Media at The Times of
Malta, said: "The play struck me because it recalls
the bombing of the aircraft in its vivid, horrific detail.
But most of all, the script challenges the audience
into thinking whether, beyond the odd newspaper headline,
this could have been one of the grossest miscarriages
of justice of our times.
“I have also found it ironic that while the Maltese
government has maintained that the bomb never departed
from the island's airport, it has remained reluctant
to challenge the accusations against Megrahi."
Alan Clark said: “Mr Grech and I have had preliminary
discussions about performances in Malta. It’s
especially interesting because Malta has particular
relevance to Lockerbie, an angle that the play examines.
“The Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci identified
Megrahi, the only man convicted of the atrocity, as
resembling the man who bought clothes in his shop. Megrahi
was at Malta’s Luqa Airport on the day of the
bombing. It’s alleged the bomb was put on a feeder
flight at Luqa which went to Frankfurt and then to London
Heathrow before detonating over Lockerbie. Following
the bombing, a small fragment of printed circuit board
was found embedded in a scrap of the Maltese clothing.
After Megrahi was convicted, Tony Gauci and his brother
were paid an alleged $3m for their evidence by the US
Department of Justice “Rewards for Justice”
programme. So Malta is absolutely central to the case.”
Clark continued: “It’s worth pointing out
that the trial judges had problems with how the suitcase
containing the bomb got loaded at Malta. In their determination,
they said: “The absence of an explanation as to
how the suitcase was taken into the system at Luqa is
a major difficulty for the Crown case but after taking
full account of that difficulty, we remain of the view
that the primary suitcase began its journey at Luqa.”
He added: “Since then, compelling new evidence
has come to light that the verdict was terribly flawed
– the Heathrow break-in, the bomb timer fragment,
the view of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
that there were six separate grounds where there may
have been a miscarriage of justice. So it seems to me
the only way the matter can be satisfactorily resolved
is by having an independent public inquiry, not into
Lockerbie itself, but specifically into the prosecution
of the case – as allegations of evidence fabricated
and evidence withheld continue to be made.
“I hope performances of the play, both here and
in Malta, help us move towards such an inquiry.”
The play has been seen and welcomed by members of the
Justice for Megrahi group. Founded in November 2008,
the campaign maintains that the conviction of Abdelbaset
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing was
a miscarriage of justice.
One of its members is former Police Superintendent Iain
McKie who was at the premiere. “This is a challenging
and thought-provoking play that brings the human suffering
and political chicanery behind the tragedy of Lockerbie
to vivid and dramatic life. It should be required viewing
for every Scot as a reminder of a disaster that has
become an indelible stain on the reputation of Scotland
and its justice system."
And Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the attack,
commented: “I welcome the play as it tries to
shed light on what happened when the investigation went
off the rails. I believe Megrahi was wrongly identified.”
Tryst is staging The Lockerbie Bomber
in Alloa’s Alman Theatre from January 17-19 at
8pm. Call the Box Office on 07929 561 311 for tickets.