Former Military Prosecutor: Try Benghazi Suspect in Federal Court


In a New York Times op-ed, Morris Davis, who served as chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007, strongly states that Ahmed Abu Khattala should be tried in civilian court.

Khattala is suspected of leading the 2012 attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, and his capture was disclosed this week (see Gavel Grab). Some have criticized the Obama administration’s plans to prosecute him in federal court.

Davis cites the record of controversy following military prosecutions at Guantánamo Bay, compared to “hundreds of terrorism-related cases prosecuted successfully and without adverse incident in federal courts during the same period.” He adds:

“Given the controversy surrounding what happened at Benghazi, it is especially important for the Abu Khattala case to be presented in the sunlight of a federal court, where the public can see and hear the evidence and draw its own conclusions. Rather than languishing for years and being obscured by the opaque standards that plague the military commissions at Guantánamo, this case deserves the certainty, the efficiency and the clarity that our federal courts provide.”

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