Federal court rules Benghazi suspect must stay in custody

  • Article by: MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT , New York Times
  • Updated: July 2, 2014 - 7:25 PM
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An artist’s rendering showed Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala being sworn in while in court last month.

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– A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the Libyan militia leader charged in connection with the 2012 killing of the U.S. ambassador and three others in Benghazi must remain in government custody.

In the ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson sided with the Justice Department, which argued that the suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, should be held until he faces trial. It said he had plotted attacks against the United States and Western interests in recent months.

In documents, the Justice Department laid out reasons why Abu Khattala should be detained, saying that if he is set free he would be motivated to flee because he has few ties in the United States.

The documents described Abu Khattala as “a commander in an extremist militia group who is fully committed to causing death and destruction to American personnel and property.”

The government said he had “extensive contacts with senior-level members of extremist groups throughout Libya” and “could communicate and further conspire with many of those extremist individuals.” If freed, it said, he could “continue to communicate his plans for additional deadly attacks to other extremists and encourage them to carry out those plans.”

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