It has been over three decades since 270 people lost their lives when a bomb went off aboard Pan Am Flight 103 in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland — but thanks to Attorney General Bill Barr, the families of the victims are now one step closer to getting justice.
During a press conference Monday, Barr announced that his Justice Department has indicted Abu Agila Masud, a Libyan explosives expert who is accused of having fashioned the 1988 bomb that took down Flight 103. According to the New York Post, the announcement was made on the 32nd anniversary of the terror attack.
“Let there be no mistake: no amount of time or distance will stop the United States, and its partners in Scotland, from pursuing justice in this case,” the attorney general told reporters Monday, according to Fox News.
Among those who died in the Dec. 21, 1988 crash were 190 Americans, many of them students and soldiers, Fox reports.
A “horrendous crime”
In a Monday report, Fox said it had received confirmation from “a top Libyan government official” named Mohammed Ali Abdallah that Masud had “been interrogated, charged and found guilty of several ‘heinous crimes’ involving explosives committed by the former regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi.”
According to Fox, Abdallah characterized Masud as “a hit man” for Gaddafi’s regime who is “very, very evil” and was “called on a lot regarding timed bombings.”
The government figure also expressed hope that Masud will be extradited to stand trial in the United States, saying that he had received “good signals” on the matter.
“If we receive a good commitment from the U.S., I’m pretty confident this will have…a positive outcome,” Abdallah said, according to Fox. “The Libyan people stand by the victims’ families and understand what they’re going through…in this horrendous crime.”
The only person to be convicted thus far for his role in the attack was Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who was convicted after hiding a bomb within a suitcase aboard Pan Am Flight 103, Fox reported.
Megrahi was found guilty by a Scottish court operating in the Netherlands in 2001 and given a life sentence, according to Reuters, but he was released in 2009 on “compassionate grounds” due to a cancer diagnosis.
He returned to Libya following his controversial release and was greeted by a jubilant crowd of well-wishers, as The Telegraph reported at the time. Megrahi remained in the country until his death in 2012, according to The New York Times.
The Flight 103 bombing was just one of a string of terror attacks attributed to Muammar Gaddafi. Another was an attack on a Berlin dance club that claimed the lives of two American soldiers, as the Times reported.