Will the US Charge a New Libyan Suspect over Lockerbie Bombing?


The US is expected to bring new charges against a Libyan national suspected of being involved in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Monday will mark the 32nd anniversary of the incident.

The suspect was identified by the Wall Street Journal as Abu Agila Mohammad Masud. He was an intelligence officer whom the Journal reported is in custody in Libya and is expected to be extradited to the United States to stand trial.

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people, spurred global investigations, and resulted in sanctions against Libya. Two intelligence officers faced charges before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands, after Libya refused to extradite the men to the US.

In 1992, the UN Security Council imposed air travel sanctions, and a ban on arms sales against Libya to pressure Colonel Muammar Gaddafi into surrendering the two suspects. The sanctions were later lifted after Libya agreed to a $2.7bn compensation deal with the victims’ families.

A former Libyan intelligence official, Abdel-Baset Al-Megrahi, was convicted of the bombing, and another Libyan suspect was acquitted of all charges. Al-Megrahi was given a life sentence, but Scottish authorities released him on humanitarian grounds in 2009 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He later died in Tripoli in 2012.