WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A man seized by U.S. forces in Libya and accused of involvement in an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi in 2012 made his first appearance in federal court on Friday in Washington, where he was ordered held until a hearing next week.
Judge Deborah Robinson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Mustafa al-Imam held pending a preliminary hearing on Thursday, the D.C. federal prosecutor’s office said.
Al-Imam, a Libyan national about 46 years old, arrived in Washington earlier on Friday, the office said in a statement.
A criminal complaint attached to the statement and dated May 19, 2015, said he has been charged with “killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility” and providing “material support to terrorists resulting in death.”
The U.S. Justice Department has said the charges stem from a Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Al-Imam was recently captured in Libya by U.S. Special Operations Forces and transported to the United States by the military, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The attack on the embassy was a subject of congressional hearings, with Republican lawmakers critical of the way in which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to it.
Last month, U.S. prosecutors opened their case against the suspected ringleader, Ahmed Abu Khatallah. That case is being heard in the same court in Washington.
Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by David Alexander