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Lockerbie

Lockerbie

Lockerbie, village (1991 pop. 3,892), Scotland, site of a 1988 airplane crash. On Dec. 21, 1988, a New York-bound Pan Am Boeing 747 exploded in flight as a result of a terrorist bomb and crashed in and around Lockerbie. The crash killed all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. In Nov., 1991, the U.S. Dept. of Justice indicted two Libyan intelligence agents for the bombing; Libya was also implicated in the similar 1989 bombing of a French UTA DC-10 over Niger in which 170 people died. After the imposition (1992) of economic sanctions by the United Nations and long negotiations, Libya turned the suspects over in 1999, and they were sent to the Netherlands for trial (under Scottish law). After a nine-month trial, one of the two defendants was found guilty (2001) and sentenced to life imprisonment; the other was acquitted. In 2003, after Libya acknowledged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to settlements with the families of the victims of the two bombings, the UN Security Council lifted its sanctions. A Scottish judicial review board, however, ruled in 2007 that the convicted defendant, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, had legitimate grounds for a new appeal based on new evidence and questionable testimony at the trial. Megrahi, terminally ill with cancer, began a new appeal in 2009 but subsequently withdrew it and was released on compassionate grounds.

See A. Gerson and J. Adler, The Price of Terror (2001).

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