A second Libyan militant brought to the United States to face charges in the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington.
Mustafa al-Imam, 45, captured by U.S. Special Operations forces in Misurata, Libya, on Oct. 29, was ordered to remain in custody by U.S. Magistrate Deborah A. Robinson, as he had since been flown to the federal courthouse in Washington on Friday.
Imam was indicted Thursday and faces up to life in prison if convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists resulting in death in the Sept. 11-12, 2012, attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound and nearby CIA post. He was initially charged by sealed complaint on May 19, 2015.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, an accused ringleader of the attacks, is on trial in Washington, where an FBI agent said that while in custody after his capture in June 2014, Abu Khattala said he knew Imam from when both were imprisoned by Moammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The FBI’s lead Benghazi agent, Michael Clarke, testified that Abu Khattala said Imam was carrying a map stolen from the U.S. diplomatic mission when both left the area after the attacks in the same vehicle.
Imam’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Matthew Peed, said Imam was a simple looter who knew Abu Khattala because they lived in the same neighborhood.
At least a dozen others are known to have been charged in sealed U.S. criminal complaints in connection with the Benghazi attacks, although none before Abu Khattala and Imam are known to have been apprehended.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Spencer S. Hsu