The Libyan militant, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who has been charged in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, is in United States federal law enforcement custody and might be facing a judge as quickly as Saturday, stated U.S. authorities. Khatallah is being detained at a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. amidst extremely tight security, explained William Miller, who is a Department of Justice spokesperson.
The militant was flown by helicopter to Washington just after sunrise off of a navy warship, where he was being held. He had been there since he had been captured almost two weeks earlier. Khatallah has been accused of being allegedly involved in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Libya which brought on the deaths of previous United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and also two prior Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Stevens, age 52, had been the first American ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since the late 1970’s.
There is a huge change that Khatallah may face a federal judge on Saturday afternoon for a preliminary court appearance. If so, at that time the U.S government would give a summary of all the charges that are being presented him. He would almost certainly stay in detention while the Justice Department pursues a federal grand jury indictment against him.
U.S. Special Forces apprehended Khatallah when they performed a nighttime invasion in Libya back on June 15 and16, which marked the first development of the investigation into the Benghazi attacks.
A new unsealed criminal complaint indicts Khatallah of murdering an individual during an attack on a federal facility. This is a crime that is punishable by death. He was also charged with giving federal aid to terrorists which resulting in death; and using a firearm in a crime of violence. With that, U.S. authorities have also stated they are on the lookout to recognize and arrest any additional accomplices.
Khatallah, who is a noticeable figure in Benghazi’s circles of fanatics and was very popular among young extremists, admitted in an interview done with The Associated Press back in January of this year that he had been present when the raid of the U.S. mission in Benghazi occurred. However he denied any involvement with the attack itself, declaring that he was only trying to rescue several trapped people.
Khatallah also denied in another media interview that he had been the leader of Ansar al-Sharia which is an extreme Islamist group that Washington states is the groups that actually carried out the attack on the embassy. Khatallah’s apprehension was a triumph for Obama, who has been blamed by Republicans of attempting to downplay the role of al Qaeda in the attacks in Benghazi for political reasons
By prosecuting Khatallah will be an assessment of the Obama administration’s pledge to try suspected terrorists in the United States criminal justice system. Republicans want Khatallah and others to be put inside the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay located in Cuba. Republicans have also stated that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was unsuccessful in taking the proper steps to safeguard the American diplomatic personnel. This is an issue which still echoes as Clinton contemplates on running for U.S. president in 2016.
Khatallah is one case of several where the administration has apprehended a suspected terrorist abroad and questioned the person for intelligence purposes before the individual was ever brought to a U.S. federal court in order to face the charges against him or her. The Pentagon has stated that Khatallah is a main figure in the incident, and he has been questioned about other potential plots as well.
Repeating: the Libyan militant, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who has been charged in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, is in United States federal law enforcement custody and might be facing a judge as quickly as Saturday, stated U.S. authorities
By Kimberly Ruble