Dec 21, 1988, feels like a lifetime ago, but those affected will never forget it.
The Pan Am 747 had just taken off from Heathrow and was headed to JFK. It exploded 55 minutes later over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers, including 190 Americans and 11 city residents, died.
An explosive was in a bag transferred to Pan Am in Frankfurt from another flight. It took Libya eight years to transfer the culprit to stand trial.
After searching a 1,000-square-mile debris area, Scottish and American authorities reached opposite conclusions.
In May 1991, Mr. Barr, then-acting attorney general, issued murder and conspiracy to murder allegations against Abdel Baset al-Megrahi with Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, officers of the Libyan Intel Agency.
The device was concealed in a brown Samsonite bag with clothes purchased in Malta, labeled with stolen Malta Air luggage tags.
It was stowed on a Malta Air trip to Frankfurt, where it was moved into the luggage area of a London-bound Boeing 727 that flew Pan Am 103. At Heathrow, the explosive box was loaded aboard the Boeing 747 that detonated over Lockerbie.
Jailed and Acquitted
Eight years of international sanctions and talks with Moammar Gadhafi brought the suspects out of Libya and on indictment.
Libya declined to extradite the two to Scotland, so the U.N. negotiated for the trial to be taken at Camp Zeist, an erstwhile NATO air station in the Netherlands that was proclaimed Scottish region for the litigation.
In May 2000, Scottish judges started the trial.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was accused of the attack, but ultimately freed in 2009 on humanitarian grounds with barely three months to live. After returning to Libya and residing peacefully, he passed away in 2012.
Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi has died, his brother says.
— David Wyllie (@journodave) May 20, 2012
Lockerbie suspect trials have had varied results.
Scottish authorities indicted Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah in the 1990s. Libya finally extradited both in 1999 after years of resistance. Mr. Fhimah was acquitted, while Al-Megrahi served eight years of a life sentence.
Families have gotten compensation, not justice. In 2020, Bill Barr issued charges against Abu Agila Masud, the bomb manufacturer who’d admitted the bomb was identical to his.
A suspected bomb-maker for Moammar Gadhafi acknowledged creating the explosive that blew up a commercial airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, DOJ officials said Monday.
After 32 years of the assault on Pan Am Flight 103, U.S. authorities unsealed accusations against the suspected bomb manufacturer, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, who now is facing a 10-year term for bomb manufacturing in Tripoli, Libya.
In 2012, he reportedly confessed to a Libyan law enforcement officer about Lockerbie.
At a news conference outlining the case, Attorney General William Barr stated U.S. authorities sought to send Mr. Masud to face the accusations in a federal district court in Washington.
The man accused of making a #BOMB that destroyed a Pan Am plane on Dec. 21, 1988, killing all 259 #people aboard the #Boeing 747 and 11 people on the ground at #lockerbie, Scotland is now in #USA custody.
We never quit. #terrorist, we will find you. pic.twitter.com/LFWgq3KxTW
— Michael Laird (@MichaelLaird7) December 11, 2022
After two years, the United States got him, not Scots, Brits, or Libyans. We got him. This is a massive win for national security.
A Justice Department spokesperson announced Sunday that the US arrested the accused Pan Am 103 bomber. Scottish prosecutors and judges, working with UK and US counterparts, will continue this inquiry, a spokesperson said.
Mr. Masud’s arrest means victims’ relatives may finally see a suspect tried in the U.S. 20 years ago, two additional accused were prosecuted in Europe. He’ll make his first court appearance in Washington, D.C. soon.
May justice be quick and severe here if it ever comes.This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.