Suspect in Lockerbie attack detained in US

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

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

Here is a brief timeline of events that have occurred since the bombing:

December 21, 1988: 38 minutes after Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London, it exploded 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland. 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 bound for New York were killed, along with 11 others on the ground.

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

November 13, 1991: US and British investigators charged Libyans Megrahi and Fhimah with 270 murders, conspiracy to murder and violating Britain’s 1982 Aviation Safety Act. The men are accused of being Libyan intelligence agents.

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

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

May 3, 2000: The trial of the defendants Megrahi and Fhimah began.

January 31, 2001: Megrahi was found guilty and sentenced to at least 27 years in prison. Fhimah was found not guilty.

October 2008: It is announced that Megrahi is terminally ill with cancer.

November 2008: The then US Senator Frank Lautenberg announced at a press conference that the families of the American victims of the Pan-Am bombing 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 Minister Kenny MacAskill has announced that Megrahi will be released from prison on compassionate grounds due to her terminal cancer illness. After Megrahi is released, she returns to Libya and is greeted enthusiastically.

May 20, 2012: Megrahi died in Libya.

21 December 2020: The then US Attorney General William Barr filed a criminal complaint against former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi. Mas’ud is filing a criminal complaint alleging that he provided the explosive that was prepared and then placed on the plane, into the suitcase. He is currently detained in Libya.

11 December 2022 – The US Department of Justice said Mass’ud, the alleged bomber, is in US custody and is expected to appear “for the first time in the US District Court for the District of Columbia”. He was detained in Libya.

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