WASHINGTON - A Libyan man has been charged in a D.C. courtroom with making the bomb that killed 270 people on board Pan-Am 103.
Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi was taken into custody in Libya in 2020, but it wasn’t until now that U.S. officials had him in custody to officially charge him. At the time, the 1988 bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack against Americans until 9/11.
Court documents describe Mas'ud as an expert bomb maker and conspirator in the bombing of Pan-Am 103.
For the families of the 270 victims, the last 34 years have been a painful waiting game, not knowing if an arrest would ever be made. FOX 5 spoke with victims' families in court Monday.
"I’m hopeful that we’ll now see some accountability as well as a successful prosecution and we hope this results in more people that will come forward," said Paul Hudson, the father of a Pan-Am 103 victim.
"The families are really keen that after 34 years, informants die, witnesses die, memories fade, and evidence can deteriorate and disappear. So the time for justice is now," said Victoria Cummock, founder of the Pan-Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation.
In court Monday, Mas’ud entered no plea, but complained he couldn’t understand his translator. The federal charges against him include the destruction of an aircraft, which carries the death penalty. But prosecutors are seeking life in prison.
Richard Marquise, a retired FBI lead special agent on the case, tells FOX 5 he hopes they’ll finally be answers to old questions about the Pan-Am case.
"This case has never been a closed case, it’s always been worked even though it sometimes seems that there was nothing going on. But for a lot of reasons, the suspects were all in Libya and nobody was talking," said Marquise.
Among those 270 people killed were 35 Syracuse University students.
Mas’ud in court said he would not talk before he’s able to speak with his own attorney. It’s expected that it could be up to a year before this case finally goes to trial. A status confrence has been scheduled for December 19th.