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Lockerbie bombing suspect is now in US custody

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A Libyan man suspected of assembling and programming the bomb for the Lockerbie bombing in Scotland that killed 270 individuals in December 1988 is in U.S. custody, U.S. authorities stated Sunday.

A Justice Division spokesman confirmed in an e mail to AFP the arrest and detention of Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud, revealed earlier by the Scottish prosecution.

“He should seem earlier than a court docket within the District of Columbia”, that’s to say, the capital Washington, stated the spokesman, with out indicating a date.

No particulars got on the circumstances surrounding Mr Massoud’s arrest.

In accordance with the New York Instances, he was arrested by the federal police (FBI) and is being extradited to america.

“The households of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing have discovered that suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud is within the custody of U.S. authorities,” the Scottish prosecution service stated earlier in an announcement.

“The Scottish prosecution service and the police, in coordination with the U.S. authorities and U.S. colleagues, will proceed to pursue this investigation with the only real purpose of bringing to justice those that acted alongside al-Megrahi,” the one particular person convicted on this case, it added.

In their very own assertion on Sunday, the households of the victims welcomed the arrest, calling it an “necessary step” of their quest for justice and saying they “look ahead to the trial.

The assault had focused a transatlantic flight from London to New York. The airplane, a Pan Am Boeing 747, exploded on December 21, 1988, over the Scottish village of Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 individuals on the bottom.

Just one particular person was convicted for this assault: the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, who died in 2012. He had at all times claimed his innocence.

Launched on August 20, 2009, by the Scottish justice, due to terminal most cancers, he had obtained a triumphal welcome on his return to Tripoli, inflicting controversy in Britain, accused of getting acted to protect an oil contract with Libya.

– Gaddafi’s regime –

In December 2020, 32 years after the tragedy, the U.S. justice introduced to prosecute Abu Agila Mohammad Massoud, a former member of the intelligence companies of Muammar Gaddafi and on the time detained in Libya, accusing him of getting made the bomb.

The Lockerbie bombing was the deadliest assault ever dedicated on the territory of the UK, but additionally the second deadliest in opposition to Individuals (190 useless) after the assaults of September 11, 2001.

The regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi formally acknowledged its duty for the Lockerbie bombing in 2003 and paid 2.7 billion {dollars} in compensation to the households of the victims.

The investigation was re-launched in 2016 when the U.S. justice system discovered that Mr. Massoud had been arrested after the autumn of the dictator and had allegedly made a confession to the intelligence companies of the brand new Libyan regime in 2012.

Final 12 months, the Scottish court docket rejected an enchantment by al-Megrahi’s household, ruling that there was “no miscarriage of justice.”

The court docket additionally rejected the defence of the convicted man’s household, which argued that paperwork associated to the case, which the British authorities refuse to declassify, might have led to a distinct verdict.

These paperwork would have implicated Iran, in retaliation for an Iranian civilian airplane shot down by a U.S. missile in July 1988 killing 290 individuals.

The lawyer for the al-Megrahi household, Aamer Anwar, for his half, denounced as soon as once more, in an announcement, a “miscarriage of justice” aimed toward his shopper and stated he was “analyzing what these developments imply when it comes to a possible new enchantment.