Dec 13, 2022

Lockerbie Bombing Suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Charged in U.S. Court Transcript

Lockerbie Bombing Suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Charged in U.S. Court Transcript
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The alleged bomb-maker in the 1988 terrorist attack that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 and killed 270 people was charged Monday in U.S. federal court. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

34 years after PanAm Flight 103 blew up over Scotland, the man accused of making the bomb used in the terror attack stood before a judge in US Federal Court on Monday. The 1988 attack killed 270 people, including 190 Americans. Senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge is in Washington with more.

Catherine Herridge (00:22):

The alleged bomb maker Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud refused to answer questions until his own attorney is retained, slowing down a legal process that PanAm Flight 103 families have waited 34 years to witness.

Speaker 3 (00:35):

Justice delayed is just as denied.

Catherine Herridge (00:38):

Victoria Cummings husband was among the 190 Americans killed on the plane.

Speaker 3 (00:43):

So this is a significant milestone for me, my family, and all the families of those killed.

Catherine Herridge (00:50):

Four days before Christmas, in 1988, the shattered nose and cockpit bearing the name Clipper Maid of the Seas symbolized American lives lost to international terrorism. The bomb ripped through the luggage hold nearly an hour into the flight from London to New York’s JFK. 259 lives cut short on the flight, and 11 more killed by falling debris in Lockerbie, Scotland. Kara Weipz lost her brother Rick, one of 35 Syracuse students on board.

Why did it matter so much to have the suspect prosecuted in an American court and face American justice?

Speaker 5 (01:26):

Because this was an attack against America.

Catherine Herridge (01:28):

The US charged Mas’ud two years ago after investigators pieced together fragments of the jet, ultimately leading to parts of a cassette recorder packed with explosives.

Speaker 5 (01:37):

I did have a lot of faith in them that this day would come.

Catherine Herridge (01:41):

US officials won’t say how Mas’ud was taken into custody, but if he is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, John.

Speaker 1 (01:53):

Catherine, you listened to the hearings. What struck you about them?

Catherine Herridge (01:59):

What struck me is that it appears, John, that this Libyan accused bomb maker is already kind of playing havoc in the system. The hearing in the courthouse behind me lasted almost an hour, and the Libyan refused to answer questions on the basis that he wanted to have his own attorney retained, so he refused the public defender. This went on for almost an hour, and then at the end, the judge said, “well, we can’t proceed until he has the representation that he’s entitled to.” So they’re going to reconvene in a couple of weeks to try and do the reading of the charges and the plea in the case, and then finally whether he will be detained, pending the trial sometime next year.

Speaker 1 (02:40):

This happened 34 years ago. Remind us of the history in 1988, the relationship between Libya, the United States, and this terrorist attack.

Catherine Herridge (02:50):

Well, John, as you well know, in the 1980s there was tremendous tension between the US and Libya, the then leader of Libya at the time, Muammar Gaddafi said there could be no reconciliation with the United States as long as President Ronald Reagan was in power. Back in 1986, the Libyans were accused of launching an attack on a disco in Berlin, then West Germany. The reason the target mattered is because it was very popular with US service members. More than 250 people, pardon me, were injured, and two of them American citizens. After that, President Reagan retaliated against Libya and launched a series of airstrikes. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi escaped with most of his family, but he later blamed the death of his adopted daughter on those strikes. And just as a footnote, the same alleged bomb maker that was in the courthouse behind me connected to PanAm flight 103 is also alleged to have had a role in the bombing of that disco in Germany in 1986.

Speaker 1 (03:55):

Ah, didn’t know that. Catherine Herridge in Washington. Thank you, Catherine.

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