“At this time, Your Honor, we would enter a plea of not guilty,” said Whitney Minter, a federal public defender.
US authorities said they would seek Mas’ud’s continued detention pending trial at a February 23 bail hearing if his defense pleaded for his parole. He may face two charges, including destruction of an aircraft resulting in death, punishable by life in prison if convicted.
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Mas’ud’s prosecution marks the end of a decades-long pursuit by US authorities, who announced criminal charges against him in 2020. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Two other Libyan intelligence officers have been tried in the bombing, which US officials say was ordered by the leadership of Libyan intelligence under the Gaddafi regime. A Scottish court convicted Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi in 2001, but acquitted alleged accomplice Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.
Megrahi was released from serving a life sentence in 2009 after being diagnosed with cancer and died three years later at his home in Tripoli. Mas’ud would be the first suspect to be tried in the United States for the bombing, which killed 190 Americans among the 259 people on board, and another 11 people on the ground.