U.S. accuses new suspect in Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced criminal charges against an alleged bomb maker in the 1988 terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi was accused in a criminal complaint of having allegedly provided the medium-sized Samsonite suitcase with the prepared explosive that was subsequently placed on board the flight. He is currently detained in Libya, CNN reported.
Last week, when he told President Donald Trump of his resignation, Barr asked to delay his departure by a week so he could announce the Lockerbie charges, one of the sources said.
At the beginning of his tenure in the department under President George H.W. Bush, Barr had announced the charges against two other Libyan men with intelligence ties, Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah, whom the United States accused of placing explosives in a portable cassette and radio player that was inside a suitcase on the plane.
Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi later accepted Libya’s responsibility for the attack.
But because of the difficulty of getting them to the US, the men were tried instead by a Scottish court in the Netherlands.
“The investigation also pointed to a third conspirator, a man known as Abu Agila Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, who at the time, investigators were unable to identify or locate this third person,” Barr said at a press conference Monday.
Prosecutors referred to the alleged bomb maker as “Masud” in court documents. He is currently in custody in Libya, prosecutors said. But, unlike the extraditions of Megrahi and Fhimah more than 20 years ago, U.S. authorities have planned a less complicated judicial procedure this time around.
Officials say the U.S. is holding talks with Libya for custody of Masud, and with Scottish authorities who may be able to provide evidence.
The Scottish court trial resulted in Fhimah’s acquittal and Megrahi’s sentence of 27 years in prison, after which he was released after being diagnosed with cancer. He died in 2012.
U.S. authorities learned of Masud’s role as a bomb maker in 2016 when he was arrested in Libya for a separate incident and made an alleged confession, according to the criminal complaint.
Monday marked the 32nd anniversary of the attack, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans. Pan Am’s Boeing 747 was flying from London to New York.
By Christina Carrega, Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez
Plataforma Informativa de Aviación Comercial líder en América Latina.