LONDON (AP) — US and Scottish authorities said Sunday that the Libyan man suspected of making the bomb that destroyed an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 is in US custody. United.
Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said in a statement that “the families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been informed that the suspect Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi is in US custody. United”.
The US Department of Justice confirmed the information, adding that “he is expected to make his first appearance in US District Court for the District of Columbia.” He gave no information on how Mas’ud was detained by the United States.
Pan Am Flight 103, traveling from London to New York, exploded over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, killing all 259 people aboard the plane and 11 others on the ground. It remains the deadliest terrorist attack on British soil.
The United States Department of Justice announced new charges against Mas’ud in December 2020, on the 32nd anniversary of the attack.
“Finally, this man responsible for murdering Americans and many more will be brought to justice for his crimes,” then-Attorney General William Barr said at a press conference.
In 2001, former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing the flight. He is to date the only person convicted for the attack. He lost one appeal and dropped another before being released in 2009 on compassionate grounds because he was terminally ill with cancer.
He died in Libya in 2012, still claiming his innocence.
A breakthrough in the investigation came when US officials in 2017 received a copy of an interview that Mas’ud, a longtime explosives expert for Libya’s intelligence services, had given to law enforcement. Libyan women in 2012 after being arrested following the collapse of the regime. of the country’s leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
In that interview, US officials said Mas’ud admitted to building the bomb during the Pan Am attack and working with two other conspirators to execute it. He also said the operation was ordered by Libyan intelligence and that Gaddafi thanked him and other team members after the attack, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.
While Mas’ud is now the third Libyan intelligence official charged in the US in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, he would be the first to stand trial in a US court.
The Crown Office added in its statement that “Scottish prosecutors and police, together with the UK government and their US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing to justice those who acted with al-Megrahi. “.