By ERIC TUCKER, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department plans to remove new charges in the coming days in relation to the bombings in Lakerby, Scotland, which killed 270 people, according to a person familiar with the case.
The bombing of Flight 103, whose victims included dozens of American college students, led to a global investigation and produced sanctions against Libya, which eventually surrendered two intelligence officers for prosecution before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.
A declaration of prosecution against an additional person would carry personal significance for Attorney General William Barr, who is stepping down next week, but held the same job when criminal charges against two Libyans in the US came up nearly 30 years ago. Had come Monday marks the 32nd anniversary of the bombing.
“This investigation has not ended in any way. It continues unabated. Until the allegations are announced at the 1991 news conference, we will not rest all of them until they get justice. “We have no high priority.”
The head of the criminal division of the Justice Department at the time was Robert Muller, who served as special counsel as FBI director and in charge of investigating the relationship between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.
Libya refused to extradite the men to the US, but eventually agreed to an agreement to test them in the Netherlands.
The expected criminal case was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. A person familiar with the Justice Department’s plan, who was not authorized to discuss the name, confirmed it to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
On December 21, 1988, a New York-bound flight exploded in Lockerbie less than an hour after takeoff from London. Among Americans, 35 Syracuse University students were flying from home for Christmas after a semester abroad.
In an attack caused by a bomb in a suitcase, 259 people on board the plane and 11 people were killed on the ground.
In 1992, the United Nations Security Council imposed arms sales and air travel restrictions against Libya to give asylum to the country’s suspects, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The sanctions were later lifted after Libya agreed a $ 2.7 billion compensation deal with the victims’ families.
One person – former Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basit al-Meghi – was convicted in the Netherlands of the bombings, and another Libyan suspect was acquitted of all charges. Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released on humanitarian grounds by Scottish authorities in 2009, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He later died in Tripoli.
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