WASHINGTON – A militant accused of playing an instrumental role in the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks was ordered to remain behind bars during a brief appearance in federal court Friday.
Mustafa al-Imam was captured Oct. 29 by U.S. special forces in a Navy SEAL-led raid and brought to Washington for trial. He appeared in court for the first time Friday, wearing an orange jumpsuit and listening to the proceedings through an ear piece as they were translated from English.
Al-Imam faces three 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 support for terrorists, and using a firearm in connection with a violent crime.
President Donald Trump has said he ordered the raid that netted al-Imam and that the capture signified that the four Americans who died, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, "will never be forgotten."
The arrest occurred in Libya's north coast, and al-Imam was taken to a U.S. Navy ship and brought by military plane to the United States.
The Justice Department has not specified exactly how al-Imam, who has been identified as a Libyan national and about 46 years old, was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. But in court Friday, prosecutors requested that he remain in custody, citing the nature of the accusations against him. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson granted the request and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Thursday.
Al-Imam is the second suspect in the attacks to have been captured by the U.S. and brought to court. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a suspected ringleader in the attacks, is currently on trial.
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