The families still fighting for justice 35 years on from Lockerbie bombing

21 December 2023, 06:59 | Updated: 21 December 2023, 07:56

The families told LBC they will never stop fighting for justice
The families told LBC they will never stop fighting for justice. Picture: Getty/FBI/LBC
Alan Zycinski

By Alan Zycinski

Families who lost loved-ones in the Lockerbie bombing have told LBC they'll never stop fighting for justice, 35 years on from the deadliest ever terror attack on British soil.

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Some 270 people died when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland as it travelled from London to New York on December 21, 1988.

The attack, caused by a bomb packed into a suitcase, spurred global investigations and produced sanctions against Libya, which ultimately surrendered intelligence officials wanted in the attacks for prosecution in Europe.

One man - former Libyan agent Abdel Baset al-Megrahi - was convicted of the bombing in 2001.

But prosecutors always alleged others were involved and last year it emerged the man suspected of building the bomb was in US custody.

Kara Weipz
Kara Weipz. Picture: FBI

Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi's expected to face trial at a federal court in Washington in the next two years.

Kara Weipz from New Jersey - who lost her brother Richard Moretti in the attack - has told LBC that's what families in the US continue to fight for.

"That was very important to the families over here.She said: "It was no easy feat to gain custody of Mas'ud. There was a group of us over here who fought very hard to make sure custody was obtained.

"It is such an important thing for them for a trial to be held in the US. True justice for a lot of them means having a trial in the US.

"We've already had family members fly across the country for 15 minute status hearings just to be able to be in court.

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But for Dr Jim Swire, who lives in the Cotswolds and whose daughter Flora was killed, the fight for justice is a different one.

He's always doubted Libyan officials' involvement and the conclusions of UK and US authorities' investigations.

And he told LBC he's never stopped his own research into what happened because he thinks it's what Flora would've wanted.

He said: "I was initially motivated by anger and by discovering what politicians were telling us wasn't true.

"But the driving force that's kept me going has been asking myself the question 'is this something Flora would've wanted me to be doing on her behalf?'

"We've had a very strong feeling from the beginning that we didn't want the death of our lovely girl to be mixed up with a lot of untruth."

Some 270 people died when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland as it travelled from London to New York on December 21, 1988
Some 270 people died when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland as it travelled from London to New York on December 21, 1988. Picture: Getty

But on the 35th anniversary of his daughter's death Dr Swire told us only wants to send out a positive message.

"That's love. And I think love is a message we would like to send out now. Not hatred - not even for those who blew up the plane - but love."

"The little town of Lockerbie suffered dreadfully from this, eleven people died there.

"They had a lesson for all of us. The women of Lockerbie gathered all the clothes of victims and returned them to their families.

Remembrance services will see wreaths laid in both Lockerbie and in New York on Thursday.

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