A second new suspect in the Lockerbie bombing has been unearthed by US prosecutors as they prepare to charge the suspected bombmaker, the Daily Mail can reveal.
The American authorities are set to request the extradition of former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agila Mohammad Masud in connection with the attack, which killed 270 people in 1988.
But the Mail can reveal that the Libyan government believe US investigators also have fresh evidence linking a second suspect to the atrocity.
The American authorities are set to request the extradition of former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agila Mohammad Masud (back) in connection with the attack, which killed 270 people in 1988. Abdullah al-Senussi (front), the former intelligence chief and brother-in-law of toppled dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, is being examined in the latest probe
Abdullah al-Senussi, the former intelligence chief and brother-in-law of toppled dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, is being examined in the latest probe. He was nicknamed ‘the butcher’ because of his reputation for brutal behaviour and was sentenced to death by firing squad in Libya but remains alive in prison.
It is understood both men are in jail in Tripoli where most former members of the Gaddafi regime are held.
The US Justice Department is due to unseal new charges in connection with the attack within days.
But the Mail can reveal that the Libyan government believe US investigators also have fresh evidence linking a second suspect to the atrocity
Mohammed Ali Abdallah, a senior adviser to the Libyan government on US affairs, said: ‘I am aware that US prosecutors have re-opened the investigation’
Mohammed Ali Abdallah, a senior adviser to the Libyan government on US affairs, said: ‘I am aware that US prosecutors have re-opened the investigation, and are focused on two individuals with regards to their role in the Lockerbie case.
‘The US prosecutors have indicated that they have new evidence that links these two men to the bombing of the PanAm 103 flight.’
30 year battle to win justice for the 270 victims who died of atrocity
December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes 31,000ft over Lockerbie. All 259 on board are killed, along with 11 on the ground.
November 1991, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah charged with 270 murders.
April 1992, UN imposes sanctions after Libya refuses to hand over the two intelligence agents.
April 1999, They are flown into Dutch custody.
January 2001, Megrahi found guilty under Scottish law. Judges recommend a minimum of 20 years.
August 2009, Cancer-stricken Megrahi freed.
Oct 2011, Gaddafi toppled and killed.
May 2012, Megrahi dies in Tripoli.
December 2014, Scotland’s top prosecutor pledges to continue hunting for Megrahi’s accomplices.
December 2020, Two new suspects face charges after a renewed US investigation.
He said there had been no formal request for extradition yet.
The FBI were put on Masud’s trail by Boston documentary maker Ken Dornstein, whose brother David was on the doomed flight. Mr Dornstein spent more than ten years going back over files, tracking down retired investigators and following leads and tip-offs.
Some, he said, did not believe Masud, alleged to have been Gaddafi’s top explosives expert, was a real person.
Mr Dornstein told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘He was essentially a ghost, he was a phantom.’
But he said a long search through documents had enabled him to match Masud to another case. He said: ‘I realised that Masud wasn’t a ghost, he was a bomb expert and he was involved in many cases.’
He spoke to a man involved in another case in Germany, the 1986 bombing of a Berlin bar, who told him of Masud’s involvement in Lockerbie and confirmed he was still alive.
Having taken his journalistic endeavours as far as he could, Mr Dornstein passed this information to the FBI.
The Wall Street Journal said the case against Masud is based largely on a confession he gave Libyan authorities in 2012, which was turned over to Scottish authorities in 2017, as well as travel and immigration records.
Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is the only person so far convicted over the attack, although some have their doubts of his involvement.
He was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed at a Scottish court for life. When he was given compassionate release in 2009 after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, Megrahi received a hero’s welcome in Libya. He died in 2012.
Among those to greet him at the airport was Senussi, Libya’s spy chief at the time of the attack, it is alleged.
The new charges are expected to be announced by outgoing US attorney general, William Barr, who held the same position when the US announced its first charges against Megrahi and another Libyan suspect, later acquitted, in 1991.
Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the attack, said he still held out hope for answers.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I do hope that with what’s going on at the moment, coming up to the 32nd anniversary of this awful business on Monday, that some truth will come out of what’s happening now.’
A panel of five appeal judges in Edinburgh are currently deliberating whether to acquit Megrahi after the conclusion of the third appeal against his conviction last month.