A former Libyan operative pleaded not guilty in U.S. federal court Wednesday, for his alleged role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir al-Marimi is accused of making the bomb that destroyed the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland. The explosion killed 270 people in one of the deadliest terror attacks in U.S. history.
Mas’ud, now 71, was apprehended in November at his family home in Tripoli. He was extradited to the U.S. a month later by one of Libya’s factional governments. He was already under arrest in Libya for unrelated crimes at the time. He had allegedly confessed to the bombing in 2012.
Two other Libyans have been tried for the bombing, which U.S. officials say was ordered by Libyan intelligence leaders during the regime of Moammar Gaddafi, who was killed in 2011 by rebel forces in Libya.
Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who died in 2012 at age 60, is the only person convicted so far in connection with the Lockerbie bombing. While al-Megrahi was found guilty in a Scottish court in 2001, his alleged accomplice in the bombing, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.
Prosecutors in Washington said they would seek Mas’ud’s continued detention pending trial at a bond hearing February 23, should his defense seek to argue for his conditional release. He possibly faces two counts in the Pan Am bombing, including destruction of an aircraft resulting in death, which is punishable upon conviction by up to life in prison.