Lockerbie anniversary: Bain welcomes US prosecution of man

Lockerbie anniversary: Bain welcomes US prosecution of man

Dorothy Bain KC

The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain KC, has reflected upon the 35th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie and the longest-running investigation in the history of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

She said: “For 35 years now the families of the 270 people murdered on the night of the 21 December 1988 have borne their losses with huge dignity and my thoughts are with them.

“I am honoured to have been invited to attend a memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in the United States and to be able to meet with so many of the families and understand how those that are gone are loved and remembered.”

Ms Bain also spoke of the prosecution being prepared by US authorities of Abu Agila Mas’ud, the Libyan man accused of acting with others in the attack on the aircraft.

It is thought that Mr Mas’ud may have known the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted over the atrocity. During the preparation for his trial in the Netherlands, however, Mr Megrahi told his lawyers that he did not know Mr Mas’ud.

Mr Megrahi was convicted on 31 January 2001 of the murders of the 243 passengers and the 16 crew on board Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York, and 11 residents of Lockerbie, on 21 December 1988.

Ms Bain said: “The court in Washington DC has now fixed a date of 12 May 2025 for the Mas’ud trial. I welcome this development and am encouraged with the progress in the court process.”

The US criminal complaint states that Mr Masud bought the clothes to put into the Samsonite suitcase that contained the bomb used to destroy the plane. Yet the case against Mr Megrahi was based on the eye-witness testimony of Toni Gauchi, who said that Mr Megrahi bought the clothes.

Laura Buchan, who is head of the Crown Office’s Lockerbie investigation team, said: “The court at Camp Zeist which convicted Megrahi held that this act of terrorism was orchestrated by the Libyan government and that other individuals were involved.

“While people of interest are still alive and there is evidence that can continue to be gathered, this investigation will not stop. We have a duty to fully investigate this crime on behalf of every person who was impacted by the events of that dreadful night.

“As can be seen from our joint work in resolving ‘cold case’ murders, the passing of time is no protection for those who seek to evade justice.”

The late Pierre Salinger, who was press secretary to US presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, gave evidence at the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist but was refused permission by Lord Sutherland to give exonerating evidence. He had claimed he knew who the real bombers were.

Lord Sutherland told him: “If you wish to make a point you may do so elsewhere, but I’m afraid you may not do so in this court.”

Share icon
Share this article: