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Benghazi Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

  • VOA News

U.S. Marshalls guard the area outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, in anticipation of a court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala

U.S. Marshalls guard the area outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, in anticipation of a court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala

The accused ringleader of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya has appeared in a federal courthouse in Washington and pleaded not guilty to a terrorism charge.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah was flown by helicopter to Washington Saturday from a U.S. Navy ship. During a 10-minute court hearing, Khatallah was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death. The charge against Khatallah carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

The government is expected to file additional charges which could lead to the death penalty.

U.S. special forces and the FBI arrested Khatallah earlier this month near Benghazi. Authorities questioned him aboard the ship that brought him to U.S. soil. Khatallah's next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

The United States accuses him of being the ringleader of the September 11, 2012 attack which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Gunmen stormed the U.S. consulate and a nearby U.S. safe house in Benghazi. Officials say the ambassador suffocated after the militants set the consulate on fire.

Republicans in Congress accuse the Obama administration and State Department of being negligent in providing enough security in a volatile region prone to terrorism.

Some information for this report comes from AP and AFP.

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