Secret and Incommunicado Detention of Benghazi Suspect Must Stop

Press Release
June 18, 2014

Secret and Incommunicado Detention of Benghazi Suspect Must Stop

Contact: Natalie Butz, nbutz@aiusa.org, 202-675-8761, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The U.S. government must ensure that Ahmed Abu Khattalah, who is being held in secret and incommunicado detention, gets immediate and unrestricted access to a lawyer amid fears that he may be being held or interrogated in inhumane conditions, said Amnesty International today.

Ahmed Abu Khattalah has been allegedly charged with participation in an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012 in which four U.S. nationals were killed. He was seized by U.S. forces in Libya on June 15 and is currently being held at an undisclosed location, possibly a U.S. naval vessel.

"While Ahmed Abu Khattalah is suspected of a serious crime, that does not mean his has forfeited his right to humane treatment and due process," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Director of Amnesty International’s Americas Program.

"In addition to the absence of accountability for torture carried out under the Bush administration, there is still cause for concern about the USA's treatment today of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism," Rosas said.

In a similar case last year, an abducted Libyan national was allegedly subjected to sleep deprivation during back to back interrogations during the week he was held on a U.S. ship before being brought to the USA.

The murder charges now faced by Ahmed Abu Khattalah are punishable by death in the USA.

Amnesty International is calling on the U.S. government to provide Ahmed Abu Khattalah immediate and ongoing access to legal counsel of his choice, independent medical care and consular assistance, and to ensure that he is treated in full compliance with international human rights law and standards.

Amnesty is also urging the U.S. government not to seek the death penalty against him in any forthcoming trial.

For more information, visit http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/037/2014/en

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.