Bashagha’s Government to Hire International Law Firm to Defend Lockerbie Suspect in US


On Thursday, the Libyan government, headed by Prime Minister-designate, Fathi Bashagha announced that it is ready to assign an international law firm to defend, Abu Ajila Masoud.

Masoud was a Libyan intelligence operative who was extradited to the US over his alleged involvement in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will investigate the manner in which the extradition process took place, and its compatibility with local and international laws,” the government said in a statement.

“The government calls upon all Libyan legal parties to contribute to the assigned international law firm, and to coordinate with it,” the statement added.

Abu Ajila appeared in a US courtroom on Monday, according to a statement issued by the US Department of Justice. US Attorney General, Merrick B. Garland said the “relentless efforts over the past three decades led to the indictment and arrest of Abu Ajila for his alleged role in building the bomb used in the attack.”

“The defendant is currently in US custody and is facing charges in the United States. This is an important step forward in our mission to honour the victims, and pursue justice on behalf of their loved ones,” Garland added.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Parliament called on the Attorney General, Al-Siddiq Al-Sour to begin criminal proceedings against those involved in the kidnapping and extradition of the Libyan citizen.

On Wednesday, 44 Libyan political parties called on Libyans to take collective action to denounce the “kidnapping and extradition of Libyan citizen Abu Ajila Masoud to the United States.”

In a joint statement, the parties called for a sit-in in front of the United Nations headquarters, and US Embassies inside and outside of Libya, to condemn the “heinous crime.” They demanded that those responsible for Masoud’s deportation be prosecuted.

“A month ago, we denounced the disappearance and kidnapping of Masoud from his house in Tripoli, by a local armed gang and taking him to an unknown destination,” the statement said.

“At that time, news was leaked that the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU) and his Foreign Minister are intending to hand a Libyan citizen to the US,” the statement added.

They confirmed that the Lockerbie case was settled, and its file was permanently closed in accordance with a legal agreement between Libya and the US since 2008.