THE US is said to be close to charging a bomb-maker for his role in the Lockerbie air disaster.
Prosecutors are expected to unseal charges against a suspect they allege assembled the device that blew up Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.
Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, who is currently being held by Libyan authorities, was an explosives expert for dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
And now, the US Justice Department are anticipated to unseal a criminal complaint against Masud and seek his extradition for trial on charges in a federal court, The Wall Street Journal reports.
If successful, it would be the first US trial related to the atrocity.
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 by Scottish judges for playing a role in the attack, but was released after eight years on “compassionate grounds”. He died in 2012.
The bombing, just a few days before Christmas on December 21, killed 270 people, including 190 Americans who were on board.
The case, filed by prosecutors in the US attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., is based largely on a confession that Mr. Masud gave to Libyan authorities in 2012.
This was turned over to Scottish authorities in 2017, as well as travel and immigration records of Mr. Masud, US officials said.
The attack led U.S. lawmakers to brand Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism and eventually forced the Libyan government in 2003 to pay more than $1 billion as recompense to the families of the victims.
US Attorney General William Barr, who headed a press conference in 1991 announcing charges against Megrahi and another Libyan official, is expected to announce the case in the next few days.
It will be one of his last official acts before stepping down. In 1991, Barr said: “We will not rest until all those responsible are brought to justice.”
Kent Syverud, chancellor of Syracuse University, New York, who lost 35 students in the blast, said the victims will never be forgotten.
He said: “Like all of the families, friends and loved ones of the victims, we eagerly await the day when all those responsible are brought to justice, no matter how long it takes.”
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service told the BBC: “This is an ongoing investigation and we have no comment to make at this time.”
The 32nd anniversary of the disaster falls on Monday.
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