Courts & Crime

Benghazi suspect faces new charges and potential death penalty

Suspected Benghazi conspirator Ahmed Abu Khatallah faces additional criminal charges as a result of a superseding indictment made public Tuesday.

Khatallah is now charged with 17 additional charges, some of which carry a potential death sentence, for his alleged participation in the Sept. 11-12, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The attacks resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. government personnel Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

“These additional charges reflect Ahmed Abu Khattalah’s integral role in the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, which led to the deaths of four brave Americans,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The additional charges include one count of murder of an internationally protected person; three counts of murder of an officer and employee of the United States and four counts of killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and a dangerous weapon.

According to the indictment, Khatallah was the commander of Ubaydah Bin Jarrah, an Islamist extremist militia in Benghazi, which had the goal of establishing Sharia law in Libya and which later merged with another extremist group.

The 21-page indictment contains fresh details about Khallah’s alleged role in the conspiracy. Khatallah, the indictment charges, told other Libyans that the U.S. facility in Benghazi was being used for intelligence-gathering purposes, which he considered illegal and vowed to do something about.

Khatallah drove to the U.S. Mission the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, the indictment charges, and at about 9:45 p.m. about 20 armed men, including some of his associates, breached the facility’s gate.

Khatallah allegedly stayed outside the Mission, coordinating attacks and turning away emergency responders, until he entered the facility at “approximately 11:54 p.m.” to help plunder U.S. material.