Documents kept secret for twenty years indicate that successive UK Governments were aware of the possibility that a Palestinian terrorist group was involved in the downing of Pan Am 103 in 1988.
The existence of the documents has been revealed by Herald journalist Lucy Adams who claims that they were discovered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) when the legal body investigated the safety of the conviction of the Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
The SCCRC investigation resulted in a report that cast significant doubt over Mr Megrahi’s conviction and recommended the case be sent back to the Court of Appeal.
However, in today’s Herald, the newspaper reveals that the SCCRC team were allowed to view the documents but were prevented from divulging their contents or taking with them any notes.
According to the Herald, the documents point to the Palestinian group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) being involved in the Lockerbie bombing.
The group were the original suspects, but in 1991 focus dramatically changed to Libya.
According to the Herald, the UK Government arranged for the document to be covered by Public Interest Immunity on national security grounds. This prevented it from being shared with the defence but does not prevent publication by a newspaper.
The newspaper published today’s article despite a threat of legal action from the UK Government.
Speaking to the Herald, a source said: "The document itself is historical and regimes have changed so it is hard to believe it presents any risk at all to national security. It originates from Jordan and incriminates the Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC.
“The contents are very important but what makes them so much more significant is the lengths the UK Government and others have gone to in order to prevent anyone from seeing the document.
"This is the most remarkable piece of evidence. It does not rule out the Libyans but it does indicate that others were involved.
"It also shows the lengths the UK Government was prepared to go to in order to ensure that any evidence undermining their case against Libya would never see the light of day."
To date, the only bodies that know the contents of the documents are the Crown, the UK Government and the SCCRC team.
The emergence of the document will prove highly embarrassing for those who have insisted that Libya was responsible for the downing of Pan Am 103 – the documents suggest that Libya in fact was not involved.