Ahmed Abu Khatallah, aka Ahmed Mukatallah, made his first appearance today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on a federal terrorism offense arising from his alleged participation in the Sept. 11 through 12, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Khatallah was indicted by a federal grand jury on the charge of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists, knowing and intending that these would be used in preparation for and in carrying out a killing in the course of an attack on a federal facility, and the offense resulted in death.
The investigation is ongoing and the Justice Department can bring additional charges as the case continues.
“Now that Ahmed Abu Khatallah has arrived in the United States, he will face the full weight of our justice system,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “We will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant’s alleged role in the attack that killed four brave Americans in Benghazi.”
“Capturing Ahmed Abu Khatallah and bringing him to the U.S. to face justice for his role in killing American citizens in Benghazi is a major step forward in our ongoing investigation,” said FBI Director James B. Comey. “Our work, however, is not over. This case remains one of our top priorities and we will continue to pursue all others who participated in this brazen attack on our citizens and our country.”
“Ahmed Abu Khatallah's capture and his appearance in court today were critical steps toward bringing him to justice for his role in the terrorist attacks on our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin. “We will not rest in our pursuit of the others who attacked our facilities and killed the four courageous Americans who perished that day.”
“In a courtroom in our nation's capital, today we took the first step down the road to justice for the four American heroes killed in Benghazi,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia. “This prosecution is a reflection of our determination to honor the sacrifice of U.S. citizens who perish on foreign soil in service to our country. We will be steady, deliberate and relentless in seeking to hold accountable all who were responsible for this deadly act of terror.”
“The capture and return to the United States of Ahmed Abu Khatallah should be a warning to all those who want to harm the United States,” said Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office George Venizelos. “As alleged in the indictment, Khatallah participated in September 11-12, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four innocent Americans. Now he is in the United States to stand trial for his actions. The FBI will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who conduct such heinous acts no matter where they are located.”
Khatallah, a Libyan national approximately 43 years of age, was taken into custody earlier this month. He initially was charged in a criminal complaint that was filed under seal on July 15, 2013, and that became public on June 17, 2014. The Justice Department secured the defendant’s initial indictment on June 26, 2014, and the charging document was unsealed today.
An indictment is merely a formal allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI New York Office's Joint Terrorism Task Force with substantial assistance from various other government agencies. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.