HomeWorldBenghazi terrorist's 22-year sentence 'unreasonably low,' appeals court rules

Benghazi terrorist’s 22-year sentence ‘unreasonably low,’ appeals court rules


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The 22-year sentence for a Libyan militant convicted of four terrorism charges for his role in the 2012 Benghazi attack is “unreasonably low,” a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, 51, was convicted of four charges in 2017, including providing material support to terrorists and destroying US property, but was acquitted of the most serious charges.

This courtroom sketch shows Ahmed Abu Khattalah, third from right, listening to an interpreter through headphones during his defense attorney Jeffery Robinson’s opening statement in federal court in Washington on Monday, October 2, 2017. .
(Dana Verkouteren via AP)

Four Americans were killed in the attack on a US diplomatic compound and a CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

Sentencing guidelines said Khatallah should have been sentenced to 30 years to life, according to prosecutors.

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The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Tuesday that 22 years in prison is not enough for Khatallah “given the seriousness of such an assault on a US diplomatic facility and the district court’s own recognition of the necessity vital to deterring such crimes. ”

“In sentencing Khatallah to only twelve years on the two counts of supporting terrorism and one count of destruction of property, the district court did not sufficiently justify, and could not on this record, his further variance so far below the sentencing range. that would have been appropriate even without any consideration of acquitted conduct,” the three-judge panel wrote.

In this September 12, 2012 file photo, glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room at the destroyed US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

In this September 12, 2012 file photo, glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room at the destroyed US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
(AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri, File)

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Khatallah applied for a mistrial both before and after the verdict, then appealed his sentence in 2020, but prosecutors intervened in the appeal.

The appeals court returned Khatallah for a new sentence.

Associated Press contributed to this report.



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