The US Justice Department has charged a “third conspirator” over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.
The announcement of charges against Libyan national Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi was made on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing of the London-New York flight, which claimed 270 lives.
US attorney general William Barr told a press conference the “third conspirator” was identified along with two Libyan intelligence agents during the investigation in 1991, but at the time investigators could not “identify or locate” this person.
He added: “The United States has filed criminal charges against the third conspirator, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi, for his role in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.”
However, some of the victims’ families described the announcement as “grandstanding” and refused to watch the charges being unsealed.
Scotland’s Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “For 32 years the families of the 270 people murdered in this atrocity have shown extraordinary and enduring dignity in the face of the loss they suffered on the terrible night of December 21 1988. Today, our thoughts are with them once again.
“Scottish prosecutors and police have had a long-established and strong working relationship with US law enforcement agencies throughout this investigation.
“This relationship will continue to be important as the investigation progresses with the shared goal of bringing all those who committed this atrocity to justice.
“Scottish prosecutors will continue to work with US colleagues but we will not comment in detail on today’s announcement given that the Scottish criminal investigation is ongoing and there is an appeal before the court in relation to this crime.”
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “This announcement by the US Department of Justice is a significant development for the families of the victims, and my thoughts remain with them, particularly today, the 32nd anniversary of the bombing.
“Since 1988, policing in Scotland has been committed to carrying out the largest terrorist investigation ever undertaken in this country.
“Police Scotland will continue to work closely on this investigation, under the direction of the Crown Office, with our American law enforcement colleagues and other international partners.
“As judicial proceedings continue in Scotland, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”