London/Washington, Dec 11 (EFE).- The Libyan accused of making the bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie 34 years ago is now in US custody, Scottish and US authorities said Sunday, without specifying how he came to be in custody.
The United States filed charges against Abu Agela Mas’ud 12 years ago, claiming that he had played a key role in blowing up the Boeing 747 jet flying from London to New York on Dec. 21, 1988, killing all 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground, the deadliest terrorist incident ever to occur on British soil.
The people on the ground were struck by falling pieces of the aircraft.
Abu Agela Mas’ud is considered to be the “third conspirator” in the destruction of the jet.
“The families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been told that the suspect Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi is in US custody,” Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said in a statement.
“Scottish prosecutors and police, working with UK government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing those who acted along with al-Megrahi to justice,” the Crown Office added.
A spokesman for the US Department of Justice told US media, without specifying a date, that Masud is scheduled to appear in court in the District of Columbia to face two criminal charges linked to the blast.
Killed in the bombing were 35 Syracuse University students who were returning home from studying abroad.
“Today’s news is a significant milestone in a decades-long process to bring those responsible for this despicable act to justice. The Syracuse University community stands with all the victims’ families, friends and loved ones who have continued to seek justice for more than three decades. We remain steadfast in our commitment to remember, honor and reflect on the legacy of the lives lost,” said Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud on Sunday.
Former Libyan secret service agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was already found guilty of the mass murder in 2001, but he lost one appeal and abandoned a second one before being released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds because he had terminal cancer. He died in Libya in 2012.