Man accused of being bombmaker in Lockerbie terrorist attack in US custody

The man accused of being the bombmaker in the Lockerbie terrorist attack that killed 270 people is now in US custody, Scottish authorities have said.

The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York on December 21 1988, killed all 259 passengers and crew on board. A further 11 people died in Lockerbie when the wreckage destroyed their homes.

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

Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty of mass murder in 2001. It remains the deadliest ever terrorist attack carried out on British soil.

A spokesperson 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.”

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 was given three months to live by doctors. He died at home in Tripoli, Libya in 2012.

The decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to free Megrahi caused controversy, with some politicians and relatives of victims adamant he should have stayed behind bars.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton branded the move as “absolutely wrong”.

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

Earlier this year Megrahi’s son, Ali al-Megrahi, said he was “deeply disappointed” that UK Supreme Court judges refused permission to launch a fresh appeal in the case.

Additional reporting by PA

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