32 Years Later, New Charges to Come in Lockerbie Attack

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud is the suspected bombmaker
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2020 5:04 PM CST
New Charges Expected in Lockerbie Bombing
A police officer walks past the wreckage in Lockerbie, Scotland, of Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – New charges are expected to be unsealed in coming days in connection to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the New York Times reports. US prosecutors are expected to seek the extradition of Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, a Libyan suspected of making the explosive that brought down the plane, killing 270 people, including 190 Americans, Justice Department officials tell the Wall Street Journal. Masud is reportedly being held by authorities in Libya. An investigation by journalist Ken Dornstein, whose brother died in the attack, helped identify Masud as a suspect in the attack, per the Times. Decades ago, two suspects—both Libyan intelligence officials—were tried in connection to the bombing.

But charges against those suspects never quite stuck: Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was found guilty but got freed from prison because he had cancer, and later died, and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted. The AP notes that Masud's prosecution would carry "personal significance" for Attorney General William Barr, who was AG when charges against al-Megrahi and Fhimah were announced in 1991. At a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery in 2019, Barr said the attack "is still very much unfinished business for me. I was pleased to see, upon returning to office, 28 years later, that the department is continuing to pursue and exhaust all leads." Monday marks the 32nd anniversary of the bombing. (In November, al-Megrahi’s family filed a posthumous appeal to clear his name.)

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