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The Lockerbie tragedy… a case that caused the suspend of the Libyan Foreign Minister 33 years after it occurred

The decision of the Libyan Presidential Council to suspend Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoush from work and prevent her from traveling due to her statements about the Lockerbie case, raised many questions about this 33-year-old case.

On December 21, 1988, a Boeing 747 belonging to the American Airlines “Pan American” exploded over the Scottish city of Lockerbie, killing all 269 people on board.

After months of unannounced investigations, many accusations were directed at different countries, with the link of “hostile” to the United States, but after years of investigation, Libya was accused of being behind the incident.

Decisions were issued in the United States and Britain on November 13, 1991, to arrest two Libyan citizens suspected of being responsible for the bombing of the plane, as they were working in the office of the Libyan Airlines Company at Luqa Airport in Malta, one of whom was Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.

For its part, Libya refused to extradite its citizens, and the Libyan judiciary began investigating the accusation, and arrested the two Libyan citizens, and asked Britain and the United States to provide their evidence, and Libya refused to respond to the “false accusations” raised by the two countries without any evidence they have.

In 1991, the American and British prosecutors charged the officer in the Libyan intelligence, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, to be extradited by the Libyan authorities in 1999, and trial proceedings began in May 2000, with a special trial under Scottish law on neutral territory in the Netherlands.

In January 2001, al-Megrahi was convicted of mass murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, before the sentence was reduced to 27 years.

In August 2009, a ruling was issued to release Al-Megrahi, after it was found that he had prostate cancer, before he breathed his last in May 2012, at his home in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, at the age of 60 years.

Several years later, the case came to the fore again, after Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Manqoush spoke to the BBC, about her country’s willingness to cooperate with the United States on the extradition of the other accused in the case, the former Libyan intelligence official, Abu Ajila Masoud.

Al-Manqush expressed in her statements about Abu Ajila, her country’s government understands the pain and grief of the families of the victims of the accident, but it needs to respect the laws.

Thus, the name of Masoud resurfaced again, after the name of Masoud emerged last December, when the US Attorney General William Barr announced the accusation of a Libyan security officer named Abu Ajila Masoud of making the bomb that blew up the Boeing 747 over the Scottish city in 1988.

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