Statement from the Lord Advocate marking 35 years since the Lockerbie bombing

The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain KC, has reflected upon the 35th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie and the longest-running investigation in the history of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

The Lord Advocate has ministerial responsibility for COPFS, Scotland’s sole criminal prosecution authority. COPFS works independently of government in the prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths.

The Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC said:

“For 35 years now the families of the 270 people murdered on the night of the 21 December 1988 have borne their losses with huge dignity and my thoughts are with them.

“I am honoured to have been invited to attend a memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in the United States and to be able to meet with so many of the families and understand how those that are gone are loved and remembered.”

The Lord Advocate also spoke of the prosecution being prepared by US authorities of Abu Agila Mas’ud, the Libyan man accused of acting with others in the attack on the aircraft.

The Lord Advocate said:

“The court in Washington DC has now fixed a date of 12 May 2025 for the Mas’ud trial. I welcome this development and am encouraged with the progress in the court process.”

“Scottish and US authorities have worked together since 1988 to bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice. That work continues as a dedicated team of Scottish prosecutors and officers from Police Scotland support the US Department of Justice and the FBI in this prosecution.”

Laura Buchan, who is head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s Lockerbie investigation team, said:

“The court at Camp Zeist which convicted Megrahi held that this act of terrorism was orchestrated by the Libyan government and that other individuals were involved. 

“While people of interest are still alive and there is evidence that can continue to be gathered, this investigation will not stop. We have a duty to fully investigate this crime on behalf of every person who was impacted by the events of that dreadful night.

“As can be seen from our joint work in resolving ‘cold case’ murders, the passing of time is no protection for those who seek to evade justice.”

Police Scotland’s Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said:

“My thoughts today remain with everyone affected by the bombing of Pan Am 103 and the terrible loss of 270 lives. They will never be forgotten.

“It is a great honour to attend the memorial service in Washington and to meet many of those families who have shown such great courage and dignity over many years.

“The impact of this horrific crime continues to have a profound effect in Lockerbie, across Scotland and internationally as we mark the 35th anniversary.

“We continue working closely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and in the US with colleagues from the FBI and the Department of Justice, on both the investigation and supporting the ongoing prosecution in the US courts.

“Time is no barrier to justice and Police Scotland remains committed to bringing those responsible for this atrocity to justice."