It was reported by the Justice Department that Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, will not be sentenced to death penalty.

Khatallah is currently being accused of helping and organizing the terrorist attacks against several U.S. diplomats and CIA facilities back in 2012. No comments were issued regarding the cause of the decision.

Death penalty denied to Benghazi attacker
Image from when the US consulate in Benghazi when it was still smoking rubble, back in 2012. Credit: Red State

Sentencing Khatallah

The accused of organizing the September 11, 2012, attacks was captured in Libya back in June 2014. Khatallah was seized and questioned by the FBI; he was then brought overseas by a Navy vessel. He was held in captivity in Washington as he awaited his trial.

The Islamic militant pleaded not guilty on most of the indicted charges, which include providing support to terrorist acts, murdering an internationally protected individual and destroying U.S. property, while causing the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty and information specialist Sean Smith.

Khatallah’s defense begged for ruling out the death sentence; if he’s found guilty he may face up to a lifetime in prison. According to spokeswoman Emily Pierce, the State Department is “committed to ensuring that the defendant is held accountable” for the terrorist assault. Regarding the refusal to seek the death sentence, one of Khatallah’s defending attorneys stated, “It was a decision that was the correct decision, but it was also a courageous decision, so we’re pleased.”

Khatallah’s death sentence overruled 

The capture and trial of Khatallah are of great importance as it is a definite scenario where the Obama administration’s commitment to war against terror can be seen in action. Many criticize the operation because Khatallah was submitted to civilian justice, despite being the leader of Ubaydah Bin Jarrah, an extremist group of Benghazi which joined forces with brothers-in-arms Ansar al-Shariah.

One of the focal points of discussion has Republicans criticizing both the Democrat administration and Hillary Clinton’s race for presidency, as she was holding the position of Secretary of State at the time of the attacks. Republicans argue that she did not work towards providing enough security to U.S. civilians overseas, specifically in Benghazi, Libya.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was the first in his position to be killed while in duty since 1979. 4 other Americans and 7 Libyans were harmed in the attacks. The assault was carried over by at least 150 Islamic militants as they used rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, mortars and machine guns mounted on trucks to attack the U.S. Consulate.

Source: CNN