Man accused of being Lockerbie bombmaker now in US custody

The Lockerbie wreckage Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The man accused of being the bombmaker in the Lockerbie terrorist attack is now in US custody, authorities in Scotland have said.

Libyan-born Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi was said to be the “third conspirator” behind the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in 1988.

Former intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder in 2001.

Megrahi was convicted of the bombing in 2001. Credit: PA Images

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: “The families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been told that the suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi (‘Mas’ud’ or ‘Masoud’) is in US custody.

“Scottish prosecutors and police, working with UK Government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing those who acted along with Al Megrahi to justice.”

The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York on 21 December 1988, killed 270 people in Britain’s largest terrorist attack.

All 259 passengers and crew on board the jumbo jet bound to New York from London died while another 11 people were killed in Lockerbie when wreckage destroyed their homes.

Last month it was reported that Mas'ud had been kidnapped by a militia group in Libya, leading to speculation that he was going to be handed over to the American authorities to stand trial.

A US Justice Department spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that Mas'ud would make an initial appearance in a federal court in Washington.

In 2020, Mas’ud was charged by the US Attorney General William Barr with being the third person involved in the terrorist attack.

At the time, he was said to be in Libyan custody and Mr Barr said US authorities would work “arm in arm” with their Scottish counterparts.

Mr Barr said: “Let there be no mistake, no amount of time or distance will stop the US and our Scottish partners from pursuing justice in this case.”

Megrahi was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds while terminally ill with cancer, and died in Libya in 2012.

In January 2021, his family lost an appeal against his conviction at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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