Lockerbie Bombing: US Attorney General William Barr to announce fresh charges against Libyan prime suspect on 32nd anniversary of atrocity
The US Department of Justice confirmed today that outgoing Attorney General, William Barr, will hold a press conference on Monday, December 21, to formally charge Libyan Abu Agila Mas’ud.
Mr Barr is expected to seek an extradition order against Mas’ud, who lives in Libya, when he unveils the charges in a televised address at 10:30am (3:30pm GMT).
Mr Barr, who is stepping down from President Trump’s cabinet on Wednesday, also served as US Attorney General in 1991, when the first charges in the case were brought.
The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York on December 21 1988, killed 270 people in Britain’s largest terrorist atrocity.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years, was the only person ever convicted of the attack.
Megrahi was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds while terminally ill with cancer.
He returned to Libya and died in 2012.
A panel of five appeal judges in Edinburgh is currently deliberating whether to acquit Megrahi over the Lockerbie bombing after the conclusion of the third appeal against his conviction last month.
A statement issued on behalf of the Megrahi family by their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said: “This morning the appeal team will be urgently seeking a full explanation from the Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior prosecutor, as to why information we believe relevant to appeal was not disclosed to the defence.
“Both the British and US Governments know that if the conviction is overturned then real questions would need to be answered as to why an innocent man, al-Megrahi, was sent to prison whilst also punishing the people of Libya for a crime they did not commit.
“As we await the decision of the appeal court it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
US journalist Ken Dornstein, who lost his brother in the bombing, revealed last week that he passed fresh information about Mas’ud to the FBI after learning more details about him.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.