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Libyan accused in 1988 plane bombing appears in US court

A sketch depicts assistant attorney E. Kenerson (L) watching as Whitney Minter, a public defender, stands to represent Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi, on Dec12,2022   -  
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Dana Verkouteren/Dana Verkouteren


34 years after a bomb brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland and killed over 200 people in the air and 11 on the ground, a man appeared in a Washington court Monday (Dec. 12).

On December 21, 1988 at 7:03 pm (GMT), on Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed, almost instantaneously, 38 minutes after takeoff, when a bomb in the forward cargo area exploded. 

The plane was at 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland. It had taken off from London-Heathrow and was en route to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi, a former Libyan intelligence official, is accused of manufacturing the explosive device.

"In court, we heard Mr. Mas'ud indicate that he did not want to say anything until he had an attorney", Eric Tucker, an AP journalist who attended the proceedings recounted. 

"He was, of course, represented by attorneys at his first appearance. They were federal defenders. But those federal defenders said that Mr. Mas'ud wanted his own attorneys, which the Constitution permits. There is going to be a detention hearing on December 27th in which the government will ask a judge to keep him locked up as the case moves forward."

It has been a long way to the trial for relatives of the victims. The extradition to the U.S. of the prime suspect was a milestone in the decades-old investigation.

"It is going to come to a U.S. criminal trial in D.C. and our hope is that we'll be able to find out what he knows and hopefully he'll be able to identify other co-conspirators so we can also bring them to justice," Victoria Cummock, widow of Pan American flight 103 passenger John B. Cummock said to the press.

But so far, he has claimed responsibility for actually making the bomb and getting it to the location where it was put on Pan Am 103," she added.

The alleged bombmaker faces charges of international terrorism in a federal court and is in custody. 2 other people were charged in connection with the attack and tried in a Scottish court.

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