Boukhtala Makes First Court Appearance

The accused mastermind of the attack on the US mission in Benghazi appeared in a US courtroom on Saturday (June 28th).

Ahmed Boukhtala, who was apprehended June 15th in Benghazi, pleaded not guilty. The 42-year-old senior leader of Ansar al-Sharia is the main suspect in the September 11th, 2012 attack that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya.

Libyan Justice Minister Salah Marghani said at a June 18th press conference that authorities wanted Boukhtala to “be returned and tried here in Libya”.

Marghani stressed that there was an arrest warrant out for Boukhtala in Libya, without giving details about the charges. “Libyan security forces did not arrest the suspect because of the security situation in Benghazi,” he stated.

In addition to the attack on the diplomatic outpost, Boukhtala is suspected in the murder of Libyan revolutionary hero Major General Abdel Fattah Younes.

“We issued an arrest warrant against Boukhtala, but the rebels blocked its implementation,” the justice minister said. “I hold the rebels and their leaders responsible for what happened after they succeeded in dismantling Libya instead of protecting the army, the police and the courts in order for Libya to be a state of law.”

Massoud Raf Allah, an engineer, explained that “Boukhtala is the prime suspect in the killing and torture of Maj. Gen. of Abdul Fattah Younes as he was the commander of Abu Obeida bin al-Jarrah Battalion. He is also accused of killing many officers and carrying out many criminal operations which he ordered his followers to execute.”

In her turn, 36-year-old journalist Saleha al-Mesmari, said: “Now, each entity is representing itself, and that’s why you can say that Libya is divided between those who welcomed the arrest and those who condemned it. May God help my country until we have a state!”

“Condemnation is the language of the weak, especially Arabs,” 38-year-old bank employee Abderrazek al-Awami told Magharebia. “State sovereignty has been violated from within before it was from outside state institutions have been besieged and stormed, and the guests and representatives of state have been kidnapped before the eyes of those who are condemning and denouncing today.”

For her part, housewife Alia Mohamed Ahmed said: “As much as I was happy with the news of the arrest of Boukhtala, I was also shocked by our stupid government’s issuance of a condemnation.”

Source : Magharebia