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Barr Announces Charges Against Third Suspect in 1988 Pan Am 103 Bombing

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Just two days before his exit from the Trump administration, Attorney General William Barr, on Monday, announced criminal charges against a third suspect, Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. He is the man accused of having assembled the device that blew up flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. In 1991, two other alleged Libyan intelligence operatives were charged in the Lockerbie bombing: Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. The Justice Department will unseal the criminal complaint on Monday.

William Barr at 1991 news conference/AP

This closes the loop for Barr who, in 1991, laid out charges against two Libyan intelligence officials who are responsible for the deaths of 270 people, including 170 Americans. The Lockerbie bombing took place on Dec. 21, 1988, 32 years ago today. Barr, who was acting Attorney General for former President George H.W. Bush, said at the time that he would pursue the case “unrelentingly until all responsible are brought to justice,” adding that he would track down “those responsible for terrorist acts against Americans . . . no matter how long it takes.” Robert Mueller was head of the Justice Department’s criminal division at the time. On Monday, he told reporters that it is “gratifying to me to be in on this chapter.” 

Barr was joined by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin, and Kara Weipz, whose brother Rick Monetti was killed on the flight and now leads a Pan Am Flight 103 advocacy organization. Barr said the “breakthrough that has led to the charges announced today arose when law enforcement learned in 2016 that the third conspirator had been arrested after the collapse of the Qaddafi regime and interviewed by a Libyan law enforcement officer in September 2012.” The release of the interview led to the current charges.

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