Lockerbie bombing suspect detained in US

Destroyed houses are seen after the 1988 bombing of Lockerbie, Scotland. (Martin Cleaver/AP)

A lot happened between the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the US arrest of suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi.

Here is a short timeline of events since the attack:

December 21, 1988: Pan Am Flight 103 explodes 31,000ft over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London. All 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 bound for New York are killed, along with 11 people on the ground.

July 1990: The Air Investigation Branch of the British Civil Aviation Authority officially reports that an explosive device caused the explosion.

November 13, 1991: US and UK investigators are charging Libyans Megrahi and Fhimah with 270 counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and breaching the UK Aviation Safety Act 1982. The men are accused of being Libyan intelligence agents.

December 15, 1998: A US appeals court rules that relatives of the 189 Americans killed in the attack can sue Libya for its possible role in sponsoring the attack.

April 5, 1999: Libya hands the suspects over to the United Nations. They are taken to the Netherlands for trial.

May 3, 2000: The trial of suspects Megrahi and Fhimah begins.

January 31, 2001: Megrahi is found guilty and imprisoned for a minimum of 27 years. Fhimah is found not guilty.

October 2008: It is announced that Megrahi is suffering from terminal cancer.

November 2008: Then-US Senator Frank Lautenberg announced at a press conference that the families of the American victims of the Pan-Am bombing had received final compensation from the Libyan government. Each family received approximately $10 million, paid in installments between 2004 and 2008.

August 20, 2009: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announces that Megrahi will be released from prison on humanitarian grounds due to his terminal cancer. After being released, Megrahi returns to Libya and receives a warm welcome.

May 20, 2012: Megrahi dies in Libya.

December 21, 2020: Then-US Attorney General William Barr announces criminal charges against former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi. Mas’ud is charged in a criminal complaint with allegedly supplying the suitcase with the prepared explosive that was later placed on board the flight. He is currently detained in Libya.

December 11, 2022 – The US Department of Justice said the alleged bombmaker Mas’ud is being held in the United States and is expected to make his “first appearance in US District Court for the District of Columbia”. He was being held in Libya.


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