US authorities have set a date for the trial against the man suspected of building the bomb that downed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988.
The court in Washington DC fixed a date of May 12, 2025, for the prosecution of Abu Agila Mas’ud.
He is alleged to have helped make the bomb which killed 259 passengers and crew on board the jumbo jet bound for New York from London on December 21, 1988.
Another 11 people were killed in Lockerbie when wreckage destroyed their homes, in what remains Britain’s deadliest terrorist attack.
Back in February, Libyan-born Mas’ud pleaded not guilty to three charges including two counts of destruction of an aircraft resulting in death, and a further count of destruction of a vehicle resulting in death.
He faces life in prison, if found guilty.
Scotland’s lord advocate has welcomed the progress from American authorities.
Dorothy Bain spoke ahead of a memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in the US.
“I welcome this development and am encouraged with the progress in the court process,” she said.
“Scottish and US authorities have worked together since 1988 to bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice.
“That work continues as a dedicated team of Scottish prosecutors and officers from Police Scotland support the US Department of Justice and the FBI in this prosecution.”
In December last year, US officials announced that Mas’ud, who allegedly worked as an intelligence agent for the country’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.
Laura Buchan, who is head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s (COPFS) Lockerbie investigation team, said: “The court at Camp Zeist which convicted Megrahi held that this act of terrorism was orchestrated by the Libyan government and that other individuals were involved.
“While people of interest are still alive and there is evidence that can continue to be gathered, this investigation will not stop.
“We have a duty to fully investigate this crime on behalf of every person who was impacted by the events of that dreadful night.
“As can be seen from our joint work in resolving ‘cold case’ murders, the passing of time is no protection for those who seek to evade justice.”
Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable also attended the US memorial alongside the lord advocate.
Malcolm Graham said: “My thoughts today remain with everyone affected by the bombing of Pan Am 103 and the terrible loss of 270 lives. They will never be forgotten.
“It is a great honour to attend the memorial service in Washington and to meet many of those families who have shown such great courage and dignity over many years.
“The impact of this horrific crime continues to have a profound effect in Lockerbie, across Scotland and internationally as we mark the 35th anniversary.
“We continue working closely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and in the US with colleagues from the FBI and the Department of Justice, on both the investigation and supporting the ongoing prosecution in the US courts.
“Time is no barrier to justice and Police Scotland remains committed to bringing those responsible for this atrocity to justice.”
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