A man seized by US forces in Libya and accused of playing an instrumental role in an attack that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi in 2012 made his first appearance in federal court on Friday in Washington, where he was ordered held until a hearing next week.
Like Khattala, al-Imam was seized in a daring raid in Libya by a team of U.S. special forces and members of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, then taken to a U.S. Navy ship, where he was interrogated first by a team of intelligence officers and then by a separate group of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.
Dressed in an orange prison suit, he was officially informed via a translator of criminal charges that include killing a person during an attack on a federal facility using a firearm, providing material support to terrorists resulting in death, and use of a firearm in connection with a violent crime.
He was charged with three felony offenses, two of which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
According to the prosecution he was in a group of some 20 armed men who on September 11, 2012 entered the diplomatic complex in Benghazi before setting ablaze a building occupied by USA ambassador Chris Stevens.
United States officials have said that al-Imam was arrested Sunday night in Libya's third-largest city of Misrata and was transferred to the US.
Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson ordered him held pending a hearing set for November 9, but it is unlikely he would be allowed out on bail while waiting for his trial.
The Justice Department has not specified exactly how al-Imam, who has been identified as a Libyan national and about 46 years old, was involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the attack's suspected mastermind is now on trial in Washington.
Al-Imam is the second suspect in the attacks to have been captured by the USA and brought to court.