Libya, a turning point in inquiries into Lockerbie

Soon, the White House will announce that one of the most divisive terrorism cases in history will have reached a sensational turning point. The United States is about to indict a Libyan bomber for the 1988 assault that detonated a Pan-Am jumbo jet flying over the Scottish city of Lockerbie, causing the death of all 270 passengers, almost all-American citizens, according to rumours leaked by the American press. This attack is the most deadly terrorist event in the United Kingdom.

The latest charges will include the extradition of Abu Agila Mohammed Masud, who is to be tried for his crimes in the United States. At present, the alleged terrorist is in jail in Libya, where he has been detained for other crimes. Yet nobody knows precisely where he is. His ultimate submission to the American authorities may be complicated by the civil war that has been breaking down the North African nation for over ten years.

Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released arrest warrants for two Libyan nationals in November 1991, following a three-year joint investigation. Eight years later, after lengthy talks and UN sanctions, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, Netherlands.

After more than a decade of investigation, only one defendant, another Libyan man, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was sentenced to twenty-seven years in prison in 2001, was convicted by the British judicial investigation into the Lockerbie incident.

After always pleading innocent, because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was released in 2009 for humanitarian reasons. Having returned to Libya, he died in 2012. A Scottish court is considering his family’s posthumous appeal against the verdict which found him guilty.

In 2003, Gaddafi admitted responsibility for the attack on Lockerbie and compensated the victims’ families, although he maintained that the order for the bombing had never been issued. Acceptance of liability was one of a range of conditions laid down in a UN resolution to lift sanctions against Libya. Due to Megrahi’s role as a government member of staff, Libya said it had to take responsibility.

But in the meantime, a parallel American investigation has gone forward. The Wall Street Journal disclosed yesterday that the indictment and extradition request for Masud will be formalised in the next few days. The newspaper quoted US Department of Justice sources. The New York Times also says that Masud was Libyan Colonel Muammar Al-bombmaker. Gaddafi’s

The latest charges will be confirmed by Attorney General William Barr. Barr resigned last week after differences with Donald Trump over the election outcome, which saw the win of Joe Biden and the Supreme Court’s decision to confirm it as legitimate.

Until the end of the year, William Barr will remain in government. At the time of Megrahi’s arrest, he was acting as Attorney General, as a part of George Bush Sradministration. .’s Judicial prosecutions against one of the most serious terrorist acts of all time will possibly reopen. We are not going to pause until we find those responsible,”We won’t stop until we find those responsible,”