Libyan suspect detained by US authorities

Thirty-four years later, the Lockerbie bombing is not the end of the story. The American authorities confirmed, Sunday December 11, to detain Abou Agila Mohammad Massoud, a Libyan suspected of having assembled and programmed the bomb which exploded in a plane above Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people. He is expected to have his first appearance in federal court in Washington, according to a Justice Department spokesman contacted by Reuters.

“Families of Lockerbie bombing victims have 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 Prosecutor’s Office and the Police, in coordination with the US Government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation with the sole aim of bringing to justice those who acted on Al-Megrahi’s side”the only convicted in this case, he added.

Only one sentenced so far

The attack targeted a transatlantic flight from London to New York. The aircraft, 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 for this attack: the 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 no “was no miscarriage of justice”.

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

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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