Justice Department Charges Bombmaker In 1988 Plot

(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- New charges have been filed this week against the bomb maker who was involved in the explosion of Pan Am Flight 103. That bombing in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, claimed the lives of 270 people total — 11 on the ground and 259 in the air.

The Justice Department announced these new charges Monday on the bombing’s 32nd anniversary. It also came during Attorney General William Barr’s last news conference under his tenure. This case unfolded during his first stint at the DOJ.

While serving as acting attorney general almost 30 years ago, Barr announce charges against two other intelligence officials in Libya related to the incident. He said then that the investigation into the bombing would continue.

With these new charges, the DOJ is revisiting a case that ultimately deepened the separation between Libya and the United States. There were investigations that happened around the globe after the attack, and also sanctions that were extremely punishing in nature.

The alleged maker of the bomb, Abu Agela Masud Kheir Marimi, is not in the custody of the U.S. Because of this, the case is a theoretical one at this point. Still, Barr was happy with the move. He said at the press conference:

“At long last, this man responsible for killing Americans and many others will be subject to justice for his crimes.”

In 2017, the U.S. had a breakthrough in the investigation. It was then intelligence officials received a copy of an interview Masud gave to law enforcement in Libya. That interview was given after the regime in the country, led by Colonel Moammar Kadafi, fell. The interview was given several years before.

Masud was an expert in explosions for the Libyan intelligence service. He revealed in that interview that he built the Pan Am bomb, working with two others to carry out the attack. Masud also said he was summoned to Tripoli by intelligence officials in Libya and questioned whether the “suitcases” had been completed.

Masud becomes the third person charged in the United States in connection with the Pan Am attack. However, none of the three have stood trial yet in a U.S. courtroom.

Barr announced charges in 1991 against Lamen Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi. The government in Libya wouldn’t turn the men over to the U.S., though, as they didn’t think they’d get a fair trial.

That led to the United Nations Security Council in 1992 to impose sanctions on Libya’s air travel and arms sales. It was a move to try to get Kadafi to turn over the two suspects.

Ultimately, the suspects were turned over as part of an agreement to a panel of Scottish judges who sat in a court in the Netherlands. In those hearings, Fhimah was acquitted of the charges and Megrahi was convicted. He was given a life sentence, but was released in 2009 by Scottish authorities on humanitarian grounds because he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He eventually died in Tripoli.

The Pan Am flight exploded less than an hour after taking off from London. It was headed to New York City, then Detroit. There were 190 Americans on board the flight, 35 of whom were students from Syracuse University flying home for Christmas after spending a semester abroad.