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Bomb Maker In Lockerbie Plane Downing To Appear In U.S. Court

A Libyan intelligence official accused of making the bomb that downed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 is in U.S. custody and will face federal charges, reports the Associated Press. The arrest of Abu Agela Masud Kheir Al-Marimi is a milestone in the investigation into the attack that killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground. U.S. authorities announced charges against Masud in 2020. He was in Libyan custody at the time. Though he is the third Libyan intelligence official charged by the U.S. in connection with the attack, he would be the first to appear in an U.S. courtroom for prosecution. The New York-bound Pan Am flight exploded over Lockerbie less than an hour after takeoff from London on Dec. 21, 1988. Citizens from 21 countries were killed. Among the 190 Americans on board were 35 Syracuse University students flying home for Christmas after a semester abroad.

The bombing laid bare the threat of international terrorism more than a decade before the Sept. 11 attacks. It produced global investigations and punishing sanctions amid demands for accountability from victims of those killed. The announcement of charges against Masud on Dec. 21, 2020, came on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing, in the final days of Attorney General William Barr's tenure, In his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990s , he announced criminal charges against two other Libyans intelligence officials. The Libyan government initially balked at turning over the two men, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, before ultimately surrendering them for prosecution before a panel of Scottish judges sitting in the Netherlands. Libyan media reported that Masud had been kidnapped by armed men on Nov. 16 from his residence in Tripoli, the capital.


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