Libya faces billions in court sanctions for 1989 bombing

The Libyan government and six of its officials face billions of dollars in fines for their role in a 1989 airline bombing, a federal judge said Tuesday. All 170 people aboard UTA flight 172 were killed when a suitcase bomb exploded en route from the Republic of Congo to Paris. The jet blew up over the desert in Niger, killing all aboard. In 1999, six Libyans were convicted in absentia in a French court on charges of masterminding and carrying out the Sept. 19, 1989, bombing. Washington U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy ruled Tuesday that the estates of seven US victims, their immediate families and Interlease Inc., which owned the aircraft, are owed at least hundreds of millions of dollars for economic losses and pain and suffering. That total can be tripled in many instances and years of interest will be added, bringing the likely total into the billions.