A Libyan militia leader pleaded not guilty in a U.S. federal court on Saturday to a terrorism charge in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
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.
Source – Agencies