Libyan suspect detained by US authorities

Thirty-four years later, the Lockerbie bombing is not the end of the story. US authorities confirmed on Sunday, December 11, that they are holding Abou Agila Mohammad Massoud, a Libyan suspected of assembling and programming the bomb that exploded on a plane over Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people. He is expected to make his first appearance in federal court in Washington, according to a Justice Department spokesman contacted by Reuters.

“Family of Lockerbie bombing victims has learned that suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud is being held by US authorities”the Scottish Public Prosecutor’s Office had previously announced in a press release. “The Scottish Public Prosecution Service and the police, in coordination with the US government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation with the sole aim of prosecuting those who acted on Al-Megrahi’s behalf.”the only convict in this case, he added.

Only one convicted so far

The attack targeted a transatlantic flight from London to New York. The plane, a Pan Am Boeing 747, exploded on December 21, 1988 over the Scottish village of Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. Only one person has been convicted of this attack: Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al-Megrahi, who died in 2012. He had always maintained his innocence. Last year, the Scottish judiciary rejected an appeal by Al-Megrahi’s family, saying there was none “was no miscarriage of justice”.

In December 2020, US courts announced that they would prosecute Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud, a former member of Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence services and at the time detained in Libya. The Libyan dictator’s regime had in 2003 officially acknowledged responsibility for the attack and paid $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of the victims.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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