Libya demands US hand over suspect in Benghazi consulate attack
TRIPOLI, Libya // The Libyan government denied it had prior knowledge of the US capture of a top suspect in the deadly Benghazi consulate attack, and demanded his return on Wednesday.
In a statement read on television, the interim government condemned the seizure of Ahmed Abu Khattala, whom the US accuses of involvement in the attack on its Benghazi consulate in 2012 that killed four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens.
Abu Khattala is on his way to the United States to face what President Barak Obama called “the full weight of the American justice system”.
Mr Obama called the Libyan an “alleged key leader” of the attack.
“The government stresses its right to try Abu Khattala on its territories and according to its laws,” the Libyan statement said.
“It also demands his safety be ensured,” it added, saying the man was also wanted by Libyan authorities but because of the volatile security situation in Benghazi they had not been able to arrest him.
Benghazi is the birthplace of Libya’s 2011 uprising which ended with the overthrow and killing of longtime rule of Muammar Qaddafi after an eight-month civil war.
Over the past year, it has witnessed a sharp rise of assassinations, bombings and assaults on security forces and civilians.
Abu Khattala’s capture came as Benghazi has been facing near daily clashes between forces allied to renegade general Khalifa Haftar and Islamist militias, including Ansar Al Shariah – the group blamed for the attack on the US consulate.
* Associated Press
Updated: June 18, 2014 04:00 AM