Lockerbie bomber accused of killing 270 captured in Libya told he will not face death penalty

Local Libyan media reported last month that Abu Agila Masoud was snatched from his Tripoli home on November 16 by a group of armed men, weeks before ending up in FBI custody.

Authorities announced on Sunday that Abu Agila Masoud, the third Libyan to be charged in relation to the Lockerbie terrorist attack, has been taken into US custody, the Daily Mail reports. He was also told that he would not face the death penalty, reports the BBC.

The BBC reports that Masoud " is facing multiple charges, including the destruction of aircraft resulting in death. Prosecutors said at Monday's hearing that they would not seek the death penalty and Mr. Masoud could face life imprisonment if convicted."

Masoud is accused of making the bomb that exploded on board Pan Am flight 103 in 1988. He was allegedly kidnapped just weeks before finding himself in FBI custody.

Local Libyan media reported last month that Masoud was snatched from his Tripoli home on November 16 by a group of armed men. According to a statement from his family, the Libyan authorities were turning a blind eye to the kidnapping.

There has been no comment on the suggestion that the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) remained silent to the abduction, though it was reported in November that a deal was struck between the US government and the GNU to allow for Masoud to be handed over to the FBI.

The report from London-based Arabic news outlet, Asharq Al-Awsat, quoted the head of Intelligence in Tripoli as saying that he was taken by a "squad of unknown affiliation, without any significant coordination with the intelligence service." 

U.S. authorities first announced charges against Masoud in 2020, but he was at that time in a Libyan prison for unrelated crimes. Since then, the topic of his extradition came up rarely, but a year later, the government in Tripoli stated that they were "very open" to collaborating with the U.S. on the matter.

Considered one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in British and American history, the explosion of Pan Am flight 103 on December 21, 1988, over the town of Lockerbie killed 259 people in the air, as well as 11 on the ground.

Two Libyans had been previously charged with the bombing, but only one of them, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was ultimately convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for 270 counts of murder. He continued to maintain his innocence until his death in 2012.

The other Libyan, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted of all charges.

In 2003, the Libyan government agreed to a settlement for the families of the victims, formally accepting responsibility for the bombing, renouncing terrorism, and compensating the families.

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