Creating new perspectives since 2009

Libya welcomes US decision not to reopen Lockerbie agreement

December 21, 2022 at 1:40 pm

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh in Tripoli, Libya [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

The head of Libya’s National Unity Government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, welcomed on Tuesday evening the US decision not to reopen the agreement made in 2008 with Tripoli, according to which the issue of the bombing of an American passenger aircraft 34 years ago today over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie was settled.

“I welcome America’s confirmation that it will not reopen the agreement reached on compensation, and the issuance of a red notice by Interpol,” tweeted Dbeibeh. “This is what I confirmed previously to the Libyan people, who were subjected to a massive misinformation campaign.”

The US announced through its embassy in Libya late on Tuesday that, “The United States is not re-opening the agreement concluded in 2008 between the United States and the then-Libyan government that settled US and US nationals’ claims against Libya arising out of certain terrorist incidents including the attack on Pan Am 103.”

The disappearance of a Libyan citizen named Abu Agila Masud from Tripoli in mid-November, and his appearance in the dock in Washington last week for allegedly participating in the bombing of Pan Am 103 on 21 December 1988, sparked Libyan popular and official anger.

READ: Libya: Amnesty accuses pro-Haftar brigade of ‘war crimes

The US explained this today: “The transfer of Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi to US custody to stand trial on charges related to the bombing of Pan Am 103 was lawful and conducted in cooperation with Libyan authorities. The transfer followed INTERPOL publishing a Red Notice for Masud in January 2022 requesting all INTERPOL member countries to locate and arrest the defendant for the purpose of transfer to the United States.”

The Lockerbie agreement obliged the US to terminate existing lawsuits for financial compensation in US courts arising out of these incidents and precludes any future suits, confirmed Washington. “But this in no way restricts our law enforcement cooperation or has any bearing on criminal charges against those responsible for the attack.”

Last week, Dbeibeh announced that his government had handed over Masud “to wipe the mark of terrorism from the Libyan people’s forehead.”

On 31 January, 2001, a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands sentenced Libyan Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi to prison for the downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie. He died of cancer on 20 May, 2012, having been released early on health grounds.

In 2008, the regime of Muammar Gaddafi reached a settlement with the US and paid more than $2 billion to the families of the victims to close the case.

READ: 74 Palestinian prisoners killed due to medical negligence