US Prosecutors to Announce Charges in Lockerbie Flight Bombing The granite memorial displays the names of those lost in the Lockerbie Disaster on December 15, 2008 in Lockerbie, southern Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
By Brian Trusdell | Wednesday, 16 December 2020 06:53 PM
Federal prosecutors are set to file charges against a Libyan man in the bombing of an intercontinental passenger flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, accusing him of being the person who assembled the explosive that brought down the plane, multiple outlets reported citing unidentified sources.
The documents will charge Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, considered the top bomb-maker for then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, with destruction of an aircraft resulting in death and destruction of a vehicle of interstate commerce resulting in death, The Wall Street Journal reported quoting anonymous Justice Department officials.
The bomb killed 270 people, including 190 Americans and 11 people on the ground, on a flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Detroit, via London and New York.
Masud is currently being held by Libyan authorities. Mohammed Ali Abdallah, a senior adviser to the Libyan government, said Masud has been questioned for a number of crimes but no decision had been made about an extradition request.
The charges are based on a confession Masud gave to Libyan officials in 2012 and given to Scottish authorities in 2017, as well as travel and immigration records.
Only two men were ever tried for the bombing, and only one convicted, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer. He was convicted in a Scottish court in 2001 and released eight years later on compassionate grounds after contracting prostate cancer. He died in 2012. The other man, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, was acquitted.
The U.S. had pursued a parallel investigation and also announced charges in 1991 by then- – and now – Attorney General Bill Barr.
The bombing led Congress to label Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism and resulted in the country paying $1 billion in compensation to the families of the victims. Although Gadhafi said he didn’t order the sabotage, the Libyan government admitted responsibility in 2003.