Fletcher in the News

Capture, Civilian Trial of Benghazi Suspect Similar to Other Cases: Dean Stavridis Weighs In

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Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

After the capture of a suspected planner of the 2012 attack against a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration is expected to follow a legal course charted in two recent apprehensions of alleged terrorists in Africa: interrogate at sea and then prosecute.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, the 43-year-old Libyan suspected of planning the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, is now being held aboard a ship in the Mediterranean Sea after his capture by Special Operations forces and FBI agents, defense officials said.

His detention marks the third time since 2011 that a suspected terrorist captured by the U.S. military has been held at sea. It continues a practice that the Obama administration regards as the best alternative to placing him in the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or keeping him in another country, analysts say.

… James Stavridis, NATO’s former supreme commander and currently dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said Khattala will be isolated from the crew aboard the ship and watched around the clock. He’ll likely be interrogated by a “fly-away team” of Defense Department, Justice Department and CIA officials, after which he would be flown to the U.S., probably on a military aircraft out of a base in Europe.

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