The second suspect arrested in connection with the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, has made his first appearance in federal court following his capture last week.
Mustafa al-Imam, a 46-year-old Libyan national, faces three criminal charges related to the attack, which killed four Americans.
Mr. al-Imam was captured last Sunday during a Navy SEAL-led raid in Misrata, on Libya’s north coast, U.S. officials said. He was taken to a U.S. Navy ship at the Misrata port for transport by military plane to Washington, D.C.
His first appearance in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before a magistrate judge Friday was brief. Mr. al-Imam’s court-appointed attorney, Matthew Peed, hadn’t yet finished explaining his client’s legal rights to him before the case was called.
Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson postponed a detention and preliminary hearing until Thursday and ordered him held without bond until then.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Opher Shweiki said Mr. al-Imam “poses a serious threat.”
Mr. al-Imam, whose small frame was enveloped by an oversize orange jumpsuit, was led into the courtroom by U.S. Marshals. He said nothing during Friday’s hearing other than his name and to agree that he could understand an Arabic language interpreter.
The only other person publicly charged in connection with the attack, alleged mastermind Ahmed Abu Khattala, is now standing trial in the same court.
Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. information management officer Sean Smith died as a result of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in a subsequent attack on a nearby government annex.
Mr. al-Imam faces three criminal charges that were filed in May 2015 but only recently unsealed: killing or conspiring to kill someone during an attack on a federal facility, providing material support for terrorists and using a firearm in connection with a violent crime.
The only court document unsealed in the case is the criminal complaint, which lists the charges. Prosecutors offered no other details about his alleged involvement in the attack during Friday’s hearing.
Mr. Abu Khattala has pleaded not guilty to the 18 criminal counts he faces, which range from murder of an officer of the United States to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
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