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Suspect in Benghazi attacks to remain in custody

WASHINGTON – A militant accused of playing a major role in the 2012 Benghazi, Libya, attacks was ordered to remain behind bars during a brief appearance in federal court Friday.

Mustafa al-Imam was caught Oct. 29 by the AMERICAN special forces in a Navy SEAL-led raid and brought to Washington for the trial. He appeared in court for the first time Friday, wearing an orange jumpsuit and listening to the proceedings through an ear piece as they are translated from English.

Al-Imam faces three charges that were filed in May 2015, but only recently been opened: to kill or conspiring to kill someone during an attack on a federal facility, providing support for terrorists, and the use of a firearm in connection with a violent crime.

President Donald Trump has said he ordered the raid that netted al-Imam, and that the capture meant that the four Americans who died, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, “will never be forgotten.”

The arrest happened in Libya’s northern coast, and al-Imam was taken to a U.S. Navy ship and brought with a military plane to the United States.

The Ministry of Justice has not specified exactly how al-Imam, who is identified as a Libyan national, and about 46 years old, was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. But in court Friday, prosecutors requested that he remain in custody, with indication of the nature of the allegations against him. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson granted the request and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Thursday.

Al-Imam is the second suspect of the attacks to have been captured by the united states and for the court. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a suspected leader of the attacks, is currently on trial.

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Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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