US Will Not Seek Death Penalty Against Benghazi Suspect

Abu Ahmed Khattalah is an alleged leader of the Benghazi attacks.

— -- The Justice Department will not seek the death penalty against Abu Ahmed Khattalah, an alleged leader of the Benghazi attacks, federal prosecutors announced today.

“After reviewing the case information and consulting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General has determined that the Justice Department will not seek the death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khatallah,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement. “The department is committed to ensuring that the defendant is held accountable for his alleged role in the terrorist attack ... and if convicted, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison."

Khattalah, a Libyan national, has been charged will several offenses that could have carried the death penalty, including murder of an internationally protected person and three counts of murder of a U.S. government employee.

Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed on Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission and a CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.

Khatallah was allegedly a Benghazi-based leader of the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia and is accused of helping to plan the attack. U.S. forces captured Khattalah during a secret raid in June 2014, officials said.