Authorities from the United States and Scotland announced on Sunday that the Libyan man believed to have built the bomb that brought down a passenger airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 is in American custody.
“The relatives of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been informed that the suspect Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi is in U.S. custody,” according to a statement from Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
The American Justice Department confirmed the information, stating that “he is anticipated to make his initial appearance in the U.S.
It made no mention of how Mas’ud ended up in American custody. District Court for the District of Columbia.”
On December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103, which was heading from London to New York, detonated over Lockerbie, killing all 259 on board as well as 11 individuals who were on the ground. On British territory, it continues to be the deadliest terrorist strike.
In December 2020, on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing, the U.S. Justice Department unveiled new accusations against Mas’ud.
During a news conference, William Barr, the attorney general at the time, declared that “at long last, this man responsible for killing Americans and countless others will be subject to justice for his crimes.”
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a former member of the Libyan intelligence service, was found guilty of blowing up the plane in 2001.
He is the only one convicted of the attack to this point.
He was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds due to his terminal cancer after losing one appeal and giving up on another.
He passed away in Libya in 2012 while adamantly claiming his innocence.
When U.S. officials received a copy of an interview Mas’ud, a longtime explosives expert for Libya’s intelligence service, had given to Libyan law enforcement in 2012 after being detained following the fall of the country’s leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, it provided a breakthrough in the investigation.
According to U.S. officials, Mas’ud acknowledged creating the device for the Pan Am attack and collaborating with two other conspirators to carry it out in that interview.
According to an FBI affidavit submitted in the case, he added that Gadhafi thanked him and the other team members after the strike and that the operation was ordered by Libyan intelligence.
Mas’ud would be the first Libyan intelligence official to go on trial in an American court, even though he is now the third to be charged in the US about the Lockerbie incident.
In their statement, the Crown Office also noted that “Scottish prosecutors and police, working with U.K. Government officials and American colleagues, will continue their inquiry with the sole objective of bringing those responsible to justice.