A Libyan man was acquitted of murder on Tuesday by a US federal jury after he was accused of orchestrating a 2012 deadly attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya.
Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who was a part of an armed revolutionary group that aimed at the fall of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was accused of plotting the September 2012 attack, which killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Al Jazeera reported that while Khatallah was acquitted of murder, he still faces another 18 charges that could land him in prison for 45 years.
“The prosecution had presented him as a ringleader for the attack, the defence though had said he was simply a bystander who appeared on the scene after the attack had taken place,” said Al Jazeera reporter Shihab Rattansi.
“The defence also tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s argument by saying that its star witness was paid $7 million for his testimony,” he added.
“In addition, they raised questions about the manner in which Khatallah was interrogated. He was seized and then kept on a boat at sea for two weeks and interrogated without a lawyer, according to the defence.”
The 2012 attack caused a political storm in the US among right-wing Republicans. Hillary Clinton was accused of failing to adequately guard the diplomatic compound before the attack.