A Libyan suspected of having assembled and programmed the bomb of the Lockerbie attack in Scotland, killing 270 people in December 1988, is being held by the American authorities, the Scottish authorities indicated on Sunday December 11.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed in an email sent to AFP the arrest and detention of Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud, previously revealed by the Scottish prosecution. “He must appear in court in the District of Columbia”, that is to say the capital Washington, specified the spokesman, without indication of date. No details were given on the circumstances surrounding the handing over of Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud to the American authorities.
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“The families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing have learned that the suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud is in custody in the United States”the Scottish public prosecutor’s office had previously said 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.
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.
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In December 2020, 32 years after the tragedy, 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 Lockerbie attack is the deadliest ever committed on the territory of the United Kingdom, but also the second deadliest against Americans (190 dead) after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had officially acknowledged its responsibility for the Lockerbie attack in 2003 and paid 2.7 billion dollars in compensation to the families of the victims.
The investigation was relaunched in 2016, when American justice learned that Mr. Massoud had been arrested after the fall of the dictator and allegedly made a confession to the intelligence services of the new Libyan regime in 2012. Last year, justice Scottish society rejected the appeal made by the family of al-Megrahi, considering that there “was no miscarriage of justice”.
Justice had also swept the defense of the family of the condemned, who believed that documents related to the case, which the British authorities refuse to declassify, would have made it possible to lead to a different verdict.