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Benghazi Suspect Ordered Jailed Until Hearing

  • VOA News

A vehicle believed to be carrying Mustafa al-Imam leaves U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 3, 2017. Al-Imam is accused of playing an instrumental role in the Benghazi attacks and was ordered to remain behind bars.

A militant allegedly involved in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, made his first appearance in a U.S. federal court in Washington, Friday, where he was ordered to remain in custody until a preliminary hearing next week.

Mustafa al-Iman, a Libyan national, is facing charges of “killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility” and providing “material support to terrorists resulting in death.”

Judge Deborah Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered him held pending a preliminary hearing Thursday, the D.C. federal prosecutor’s office said.

Al-Imam, a Libyan national about 46 years old, arrived in Washington earlier Friday, the office said in a statement.

The charges stem from the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi by Islamic militants that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week that al-Iman had been captured.

“Our memory is deep and our reach is long and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice,” the president said in a White House statement.

The attack led to a long congressional investigation and numerous hearings on whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior U.S. officials ignored warnings to bolster security at the consulate because of possible violence.

Despite the hearings and Republican-led investigations, there was no evidence found of wrongdoing or deliberate negligence by Clinton or the State Department.

Al-Imam was recently captured in Libya by U.S. Special Operations Forces and transported to the United States by the military, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Last month, U.S. prosecutors opened their case against the suspected ringleader, Ahmed Abu Khatallah. That case is being heard in the same court in Washington.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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