Lockerbie bombing suspect pleads not guilty in US court

Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud was extradited to the United States over his role of the Lockerbie bombing
Kev Gregory /

The Libyan man accused of constructing the explosives used in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town Lockerbie has pleaded not guilty in a US court.  

The tragedy took place on December 21, 1988, shortly after 7pm and resulted in the deaths of 259 passengers onboard the aircraft and 11 on the ground. 

The accused man, Abu Agila Masud, is charged with two counts of destruction of an aircraft resulting in death and a count of destruction of a vehicle resulting in death. 

The 71-year-old suspect appeared in the US District Court in Washington, D.C on Wednesday February 8, 2023, where he pleaded not guilty through his public defender Whitney Minter. 

If found guilty Masud could face a sentence of up to life imprisonment, although he will not face capital punishment as at the time of the bombing the charges were not punishable by death. 

A further hearing in February was scheduled. 

In December 2022 Masud was extradited to the US and taken into custody, two years after US Attorney General William Barr charged him with being involved in the bombing.  

The former Libyan intelligence agent joins two other Libyan nationals who were put on trial regarding the event.  

Both Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah stood in front of a Scottish court in the Netherlands in 1991, as the latter country was chosen as a neutral ground for the case.  

While Fhimah was acquitted, Megrahi received a life sentence in 2001 but was released in 2009 following a prostate cancer diagnosis. He died in 2012. 

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