Libyan operative Abu Aguila Masoud, charged with the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, has been extradited to the United States and arrested by the FBI and charged.
In 2020, Attorney General William Barr announced a criminal prosecution against Massoud, accusing him of making the explosive device used in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 passengers, including 190 Americans.
Massoud faces two criminal charges, including the destruction of the aircraft resulting in death. He was held in a Libyan prison for unrelated crimes. How the United States managed to negotiate with Libya on extradition is unknown, The New York Times notes.
In 2012, Massoud confessed to the bombing, telling a Libyan law enforcement official that he was behind the attack. In 2017, investigators learned of the confession and questioned the man who obtained it.
Massoud was the third person charged with the bombing. Two other defendants, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fimah. Megrahi was formally listed as the head of the security service of the national Libyan carrier at Valletta airport, in reality he was an employee of the Libyan special services and a cousin of one of the closest associates of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Both were indicted in 1991, but US efforts to prosecute them stalled when Libya refused to extradite them to the States or Britain. However, in 1999, Gaddafi agreed to a trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law. Fimakh was acquitted, while Megrahi was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 2009, Scottish officials released Megrahi because he had prostate cancer, despite strong objections from the families of the victims and American officials, including President Barack Obama. Megrahi died in 2012, his family appealed the sentence posthumously in Scotland, but a panel of judges refused to overturn it.
In 2011, former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Muhammad Abd al-Jalil stated in an interview that he allegedly had evidence that Muammar Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing of a plane over Lockerbie. However, he did not provide direct evidence.