Khattala Convicted of Terrorism in U.S. Federal Court
Washington. D.C.—Human Rights First said that today’s conviction of Ahmed Abu Khattala of terrorism charges in connection with the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, once again demonstrates that justice in terrorism cases is best served in federal court. After a seven-week trial, the Washington, D.C. jury voted to convict Khattala on four counts, including conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism. While Khattala was not convicted for the murders of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack, he faces a potential 60 years in prison for his crimes.
“The conviction of Khattala on multiple counts underscores the strength of our federal courts in handling complex terrorism cases,” said Matthew G. Olsen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “This shows that our criminal justice system is fair, independent, and tough when it comes to dealing with terrorists and that no one can escape justice if we put faith in our laws and institutions.”
Arrested in 2014 in an operation conducted by the FBI and U.S. Special Forces, Khattala was first held on a U.S. warship before being transferred to federal court. His trial began on October 2 and was completed two weeks ago.
Federal courts have convicted more than six hundred people of terrorism-related offenses since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including 108 where the defendant was captured abroad. Those currently serving sentences in U.S. federal prisons include Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Suleiman Abu Ghaith and Zacarias Moussaoui, known as the 20th 9/11 hijacker.