Suspect in Pan Am flight bombing over Lockerbie appears in U.S. court

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A Libyan intelligence operative suspected of making the bomb that killed 270 people on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 will appear in federal court in Washington D.C. on Monday, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The weekend capture in Libya of suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi comes nearly 34 years after a bomb aboard the Boeing 747, which was flying from London to New York, killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground.

Mas’ud, who allegedly confessed his crimes to a Libyan law enforcement official in September 2012, will appear before U.S. Judge Robin Meriweather at 1 p.m., Reuters reported.

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Mas’ud is one of three people U.S. and British law enforcement authorities say were involved in the 1988 bombing.

In 1991, two other Libyan intelligence agents, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, were charged in the bombing.

At a trial in Scotland before a court in Camp Zeist, the Netherlands, Megrahi was convicted of the 2001 bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was subsequently released because he was suffering from cancer and died at his home in Tripoli in 2012.

For his part, Fhimah was acquitted of all charges, but Scottish prosecutors have maintained that Megrahi did not act alone.

At the time of the attack, U.S. investigators uncovered evidence that one of the possible suspects went by the name “Abu Agela Mas’ud,” but were unable to locate him, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit in support of the government’s criminal complaint.

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The United States did not formally charge Mas’ud until 2020, when it discovered new evidence revealing that he had reportedly confessed his crimes to a Libyan law enforcement official.

In a criminal complaint, he was charged with destruction of aircraft resulting in death and destruction of a vehicle used in interstate commerce by means of an explosive resulting in death.

Since then, however, no formal indictment against him has been made public.

During the 2012 interview with the Libyan law enforcement official, Mas’ud “admitted to building the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 and working with Megrahi and Fhimah to execute the plot,” according to an FBI agent’s affidavit in support of the government’s criminal complaint.

Mas’ud also told the interviewer that he had participated in other similar plots and that the bombing had been ordered by Libyan intelligence services, according to the complaint.

He also claimed that former Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi, killed by rebels in October 2011, “thanked him and other members of the team for their successful attack on the United States.”

Sir Iain Livingstone, chief constable of Police Scotland, in a statement posted on Twitter said the attack has had a “profound” impact.”

“I pay tribute to the families of the victims for the courage and dignity they have shown for 34 years, and my thoughts remain with them today,” Livingstone added.