The Lockerbie Case (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United States of America)

Hart Publishing
Publication Type:
Feminist Judgments in International Law, 2019
Issue Date:
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Raafat al-Ghossain – or ‘Fafo’, as she was known to her father Bassam, mother Saniya and younger sister Kinda – was only 18 when she was killed on 15 April 1986. Her family home in Tripoli was destroyed by a bomb dropped during an American airstrike ordered by Ronald Reagan in response to the bombing of a Berlin nightclub earlier that same year, blamed on the Libyans, in which two American soldiers were killed. Raafat, in her first year at art college in London, was back in Libya visiting her family for the holidays. Just over two months before her death she had written in her diary: ‘My life is changing. I’m slowly, at last, finding myself. It feels great at last to meet my real self. Freedom!!’ On 21 December 1988, Frank Ciulla was travelling home to his wife, Mary Lou, and their three in New Jersey for Christmas. As his flight, Pan Am 103, flew over the Scottish town of Lockerbie a bomb exploded on board the plane, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground. His body was found eight miles from the main crash site on a farm belonging to Hugh and Mary Connell. The two families subsequently struck up a friendship, culminating in their meeting in Scotland in 1992.
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