Lockerbie Suspect’s Health Condition Deteriorating


The nephew of Abu Ajila Masoud, who is a suspect in the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, Abdel-Moneim Al-Marimi said that his family was able to hold a video call to check on him and his health. “My uncle complained to us about the deterioration of his health and psychological condition. He indicated to us that he had been transferred to the hospital a few days ago, due to his deteriorating health.”

In press statements, he added that Abu-Ajila “confirmed his innocence of the charges brought against him by the Federal Court, and requested the appointment of a lawyer to defend him before the date of the next hearing on 23 February.”

“We contacted the Libyan government headed by Fathi Bashagha, and it pledged to provide us with the legal fees before the date of the hearing,” he added.

Notably, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the United States and Libyan authorities to clarify the legal basis for the “abusive arrest” and subsequent extradition of Masoud.

On 12 December 2022, US authorities announced that they had custody of, and intended to prosecute Abu Ajila Masoud, a former intelligence officer during the government of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“It appears that no Libyan court ordered or reviewed Masoud’s transfer to the US, and he had no chance to appeal, raising serious due process concerns,” said Hanan Salah, associate Middle East and North Africa director at HRW.

“The political impasse and chaos in Libya do not allow US authorities to disregard violations of fundamental rights,” she added.

The Tripoli-based Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba said his Government of National Unity (GNU) collaborated with the US on the extradition. However, judicial authorities have challenged the handover’s legality, and opened an investigation.

HRW said in a statement on Monday that the US “should uphold international fair trial standards and grant Masoud access to his family members, including by promptly processing visas for them.”

It noted that the US authorities should also grant him the right to challenge his extradition. “As Prime Minister Dbaiba promised, Libyan authorities should provide consular visits, help Masoud get effective legal counsel, and coordinate his family’s visits. They should also investigate and hold accountable members of the armed group responsible for violently seizing Masoud from his home.”

“The US had long sought Masoud’s arrest for his alleged role in the Lockerbie bombing. The apparent basis for the charges are confessions he allegedly made in 2012 to a Libyan interrogator,” the statement added.

A relative of Masoud told Human Rights Watch that family members had no prior knowledge of the extradition. They learned about it from social media posts on 12 December.

“Justice for the many victims of Pan Am flight 103 risks being tainted unless the US and GNU governments clarify the legal basis for Masoud’s transfer to US custody,” Salah said.