Lockerbie ‘farce’ continues as US and Scottish accounts contradict one another
A Libyan man who is accused of making the bomb which destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 is in US custody.
Abu Agila Masud was charged by US authorities two years ago. They allege that he played a key role in the terrorist attack which killed 270 people.
All 259 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 747 from New York to London died, while a further 11 people in Lockerbie died from the wreckage hitting their homes.
It was reported last month that Mr Masud had been kidnapped by a militia group in Libya, resulting in speculation that he was going to be handed over to the Americans.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of bombing Pan Am 103 after standing trial at a specially convened Scottish court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.
Aamer Anwar, solicitor for the Megrahi family, said Mr Masud was in the custody of a warlord in Libya who was “widely condemned for human rights abuses” and that the circumstances in which such a confession was extracted would be “strongly opposed” in any US or Scottish court.
In a statement issued on behalf of the family, Mr Anwar noted inconsistencies in the US account of the events that led to the bombing, our sister publication Scottish Legal News reports.
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.
“The problem for the US Department of Justice is that the case against Megrahi is still based on the eye-witness testimony of Toni Gauchi, stating that Megrahi bought the clothes,” Mr Anwar said. “How can both Megrahi and Masud now be held responsible?”
The statement adds: “We find it astonishing that the US now claims that Masud was given $500 by Megrahi to buy clothes to fill the suitcase but Megrahi then also bought the clothes.”
If Mr Masud bought the clothes it would undermine the case against Mr Megrahi, Mr Anwar added. “What will the Scottish Crown Office say: ‘No you didn’t’, especially as it played a key role in their case against al-Megrahi.”
The Scottish authorities did not disclose any information to Mr Anwar’s legal team about Libya having Mr Masud in custody during their failed appeal to the UK Supreme Court.