Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2020

Libyan sentenced to 19 years prison in US for Benghazi attack

Libyan sentenced to 19 years prison in US for Benghazi attack

Jury in June convicted Mustafa al-Imam of terror-related charges in overnight attacks that began 11 September 2012 on US diplomatic mission in Libya

MEE and agencies Fri, 01/24/2020 – 00:27

US Marshals accompany armored vehicle waiting for Mustafa al-Imam during earlier hearing at US District Court (AFP/file photo)

A 47-year-old Libyan man who was captured by US special forces in Libya and brought to the United States for trial was sentenced to prison on Thursday for his role in the 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi.

A jury in June convicted Mustafa al-Imam of one count each of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and maliciously destroying government property in the overnight attacks that began 11 September 2012 on a US diplomatic mission and nearby CIA post, the Washington Post reported at the time.

Imam was sentenced to 19 years and six months in prison by a US District Court judge in Washington. Imam was captured by US troops in Libya in October 2017 and brought to the United States, AFP said. US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack.

“Imam played an important role in the terrorist attack that destroyed the US mission and the CIA annex in Benghazi,” US attorney Jessie Liu said in a statement.

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“Today’s sentencing is a reminder that the safety of Americans – whether at home or abroad, civilian or otherwise – will always be our top priority,” Liu said. “If you commit an act of terrorism, we will find you and bring you to justice.”

Prosecutors declined to retry Imam on 15 other counts that jurors hung on, including murder in the death of Stevens, the first US ambassador killed on duty in nearly 40 years, the Post reported on Thursday.

According to prosecutors, Imam was in contact during the attack on the US mission with Ahmed Abu Khattala, another Libyan national who was captured by US troops in 2014 and also brought to the United States.

Khattala was sentenced to 22 years in prison in June 2018 for his role in the Benghazi attack.

The death of Stevens stunned Americans and became the focus of a politically charged investigation by congressional Republicans of then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who was accused of not doing enough to protect the diplomats.

Clinton was never convincingly tagged with wrongdoing or negligence, but the issue haunted her failed 2016 presidential campaign.

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