Pan Am Flight 103 Fast Facts

(CNN)Here's a look at the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London.
Two hundred fifty-nine people on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 were killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
Afterward, United States and British investigators found fragments of a circuit board and a timer, and ruled that a bomb, not mechanical failure, caused the explosion.
    Libyans Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah were tried for the bombing. Al Megrahi was found guilty, while Fhimah was found not guilty.
    Facts:
    The suspects were tried in a Scottish court at Camp Zeist, a former US air base 20 miles south of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. The Dutch declared 30 acres of the 100-acre base Scottish territory so that the trial could be held in a neutral country as al Megrahi, Fhimah and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had wanted. There was no jury; three Scottish judges presided, with a fourth as reserve.
    Authorities said al Megrahi and Fhimah manufactured the bomb out of Semtex plastic explosives, concealed it in a Toshiba cassette recorder, hid the recorder in a Samsonite suitcase and slipped the suitcase aboard an Air Malta flight headed from Malta to Frankfurt, Germany. The unaccompanied bag is believed to have been transferred to a Pan Am flight to London and then to Flight 103.
    The CIA and FBI said the suspects, employed by Libyan Arab Airlines in Malta, were also Libyan intelligence agents. Lesser charges of conspiracy to murder and violating Britain's 1982 Aviation Security Act were dropped.
    Over three years, investigators from the United States, Britain, Germany and other countries questioned more than 15,000 people in more than 30 countries and collected thousands of pieces of evidence.
    The death penalty is not permitted under Scottish law. There is no prescribed punishment for a conviction of conspiracy to murder. Any punishment is at the discretion of the court. Life imprisonment is the prescribed punishment for murder or contravention of the Aviation Security Act 1982. Any prison sentence would be served in Scotland.
    Timeline:
    December 21, 1988 - Pan Am Flight 103 explodes 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland, 38 minutes after takeoff from London. The 259 people on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 are killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
    July 1990 - The British Civil Aviation Authority's Air Investigation Branch officially reports that an explosive device caused the crash of Pan Am Flight 103.
    November 13, 1991 - US and British investigators indict Libyans al Megrahi and Fhimah on 270 counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and violating Britain's 1982 Aviation Security Act. The men are accused of being Libyan intelligence agents.
    April 15, 1992 - The United Nations Security Council imposes sanctions on air travel and arms sales to Libya, over Libya's refusal to hand the suspects over for trial in a Scottish court.
    March 1994 - Libya says it will consider a proposal to try the suspects in a neutral site with a panel of international judges. Britain and the United States reject the plan, insisting the pair be tried in a British or American court.
    August 24, 1998 - Britain and the United States propose trying the suspects in the Netherlands under Scottish law.
    December 5, 1998 - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan meets with Libyan leader Gadhafi to urge Libya to hand over the bombing suspects.
    December 15, 1998 - A US appeals court rules relatives of the 189 Americans killed in the bombing can sue Libya for its possible role in sponsoring the attack.
    December 16, 1998 - Libyan People's Congress agrees to a proposal to try Lockerbie bombing suspects in the Netherlands under Scottish law.
    April 5, 1999 - Libya hands over the suspects to the United Nations. They are taken to the Netherlands to stand trial.
    April 5, 1999 - United Nations Security Council suspends air and arms sanctions against Libya after the bombing suspects are taken into UN custody.
    June 11, 1999 - US and Libyan representatives meet for the first time in 18 years to discuss lifting UN sanctions.
    December 7, 1999 - Al Megrahi and Fhimah make their first appearance at a two-day pre-trial hearing at Camp Zeist.
    May 3, 2000 - The trial of Pan Am Flight 103 bombing suspects al Megrahi and Fhimah begins.
    November 28, 2000 - Judges at the Lockerbie trial reject a plea to acquit one of the two Libyans accused of planting a bomb on the Pan Am plane.
    January 9, 2001 - Prosecutors drop the lesser charges of conspiracy and endangering aircraft safety against al Megrahi and Fhimah and ask the court to only consider the murder charges.