AUTHORITIES in the United States have charged a “third conspirator” in connection with the Lockerbie bombing on the 32nd anniversary of the atrocity amid “horror” from relatives of some of the victims.

Outgoing US attorney general William Barr yesterday told a news conference Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi was identified along with two Libyan intelligence agents during the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1991, but at the time investigators could not “identify or locate” this person. The late Abdelbasset al-Megrahi was the only person to be convicted, his alleged accomplice Lamen Khalifa Fhimah having been acquitted at the Camp Zeist trial in the Netherlands.

However, Barr made repeated references to Fhimah throughout the conference, and was accused of “grandstanding” by Scots lawyer Aamer Anwar, who represents the Megrahi family in their attempt to posthumously clear Megrahi’s name.

Speaking from Lockerbie with two families of victims of Flight 103, he said the fact that Barr thought it “appropriate” to invite the relatives to watch his “grandstanding” was “deeply disrespectful” to them and the victims. “No new information was presented today by AG Barr and it appears to be a desperate attempt to resurrect a Lockerbie case as we await the decision of the appeal court over the miscarriage of justice appeal of the late Abdelbasset al-Megrahi,” said Anwar. “Mr Barr’s attitude to Scotland was deeply patronising and insulting. It would appear on the basis of everything said by Mr Barr, that if the conviction against the late Al-Megrahi collapses then so does the case against Masud.”

READ MORE: Why new US charges take us no closer to truth behind Lockerbie tragedy

The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, travelling from London to New York, killed 270 people in Britain’s largest terrorist attack. Reverend John Mosey, who lost his daughter Helga, 19, wrote to the Crown Office and the attorney general to express his disgust at the invitation: “We consider the timing and particularly the choice of this specific day, which is special to many of us, to be bizarre, disrespectful, insensitive and extremely ill-considered.

“Why exactly has the attorney general waited 32 years to bring charges? Why would you use the anniversary of our daughter’s death, along with 269 others, to parade once more a highly suspect prosecution? Your own department, and perhaps some parts of the Scottish legal system, should be investigated.”

Ali Megrahi, whose late father’s conviction is subject to a third appeal, said: “Where were they in the past 32 years, especially when we have been fighting for an appeal over the last six years, so why release this information now?

“They want to perpetuate lies against Libya and will not let us live in peace ... As for the American families of the victims of this atrocity, you lost loved ones and I lost my father, I am not against what you are doing, but I assure you that your government have lied to you for the past 32 years and my family and I will not give up fighting for truth and justice.”

Robert Black QC, architect of the Camp Zeist trial, added that Barr wanted to “go out with a bang”.

He said: “He’s now about to leave the scene and he wants his name to be remembered: Lockerbie at the beginning of his career and Lockerbie at the end. The other possibility is that it is a blatant attempt to influence the Scottish judges when they have got the latest Megrahi appeal before them and we await their judgement.”

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the US announcement was a “significant development”, adding: “Police Scotland will continue to work closely on this investigation, under the direction of the Crown Office, with our American law enforcement colleagues and other international partners.”