Suspect charged in 1988 Lockerbie explosion taken into US custody
A Libyan man accused of making the bomb that destroyed a Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people, has been detained by the US, the Justice Department confirmed on Sunday.
Abu Agila Mohammad Masud is accused by the US two years ago because of the Lockerbie bombing. He had previously been detained in Libya for his alleged participation in the 1986 attack on a nightclub in Berlin.
The Justice Department confirmed in a statement that Masud was in US custody, following the announcement by Scottish prosecutors, but did not say how the suspect fell into US hands.
A department spokesman said Masud is expected to make his first appearance in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, but did not specify when.
To date, only one individual has been prosecuted for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988 – that is still the case. most dangerous terrorist attack in British history.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi spent seven years in prison in Scotland after being convicted in 2001.
He died in Libya in 2012, insisting he was innocent.
“Families of those killed in the incident Lockerbie bombing has been informed that suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi … is in the custody of the United States,” said a spokesman for the Crown Office and Financial Services of the Prosecutor Scotland.
“Scottish prosecutors and police, working with the UK government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing out those who acted in conjunction with al-Megrahi.” before justice.”
Scottish officials gave no information about when Masud was handed over, and his fate is tied to the warring sectarianism in Libyan politics.
He was abducted by a group of Libyan militiamen, according to reports last month cited by the BBC, after he was detained for the Berlin attack that killed two American soldiers and a Turkish citizen.
Masud is best known as the top bomb maker for Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi. According to the US indictment, he assembled and programmed the bomb that brought down the Pan Am jumbo jet.
The investigation was restarted in 2016 when Washington learned of Masud’s arrest after the fall of Kadhafi and his death in 2011, and his reported confession of involvement with the new regime. of Libya in 2012.
However, Libya’s connection to Lockerbie has long been disputed by some.
In January 2021, the Megrahi family lost a posthumous appeal in Scotland against his conviction, after an independent review indicated a possible wrongful trial.
The family wants British authorities to declassify documents allegedly alleging that Iran used a Palestinian proxy in Syria to build the bomb that brought down Flight 103.
In that story, the Lockerbie bombing was retaliation for the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by a US Navy missile in July 1988, killing 290 people.