Scotland’s outgoing Chief Constable has vowed the police will pursue justice for those who lost their lives in the Lockerbie disaster after the man accused of helping blow up Pan Am 103 appeared in court earlier this month.
Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi is alleged to have helped make the bomb which killed all 259 passengers and crew on board the jumbo jet bound to New York from London on December 21, 1988.
Another 11 people were killed in Lockerbie when wreckage destroyed their homes in what is Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack.
Sir Iain Livingstone, who announced he will retire from the force in the summer, told the Scottish Police Authority on Thursday: “I will take this opportunity today to publicly reaffirm Police Scotland’s commitment to the pursuit of justice.”
Libyan-born Mus’ud faces three charges, including two of destruction of an aircraft resulting in death, and a third of destruction of a vehicle resulting in death.
He appeared before a federal court in the United States earlier this month, where he denied the allegations put to him.
Sir Iain it was “a very significant development” and added: “The bombing of Pam Am 103 in 1988, and the terrible loss of 270 lives, had a profound impact in the town of Lockerbie, right across Scotland, and of course internationally.”
At the police authority meeting in Glasgow, Sir Iain said Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham had visited the United States with Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain to meet with officials.
Sir Iain added: “During his time in Washington just prior to Christmas, DCC Graham also met a number of the victims’ families to express Police Scotland’s unwavering commitment to bring those responsible to justice.”
Mas’ud is expected to appear in court again later this month, where Judge Moxila Upadhyaya will hear arguments whether he should be detained or released for trial.
In December, US officials announced that Mas’ud, who allegedly worked as an intelligence agent for Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, had been taken into custody, two years after it was revealed he had been charged in connection with the explosion.
In 2020, he was charged by US Attorney General William Barr with being the third person involved in the terrorist attack.
Each of the charges Mas’ud faces are punishable by a sentence of up to life imprisonment, the death penalty or a fine of up to 250,000 US dollars (£207,000).
A previous hearing in December heard that Mas’ud will not face the death penalty because the bombing occurred before the specific charges which he faces carried a possible penalty of capital punishment.