A man accused of taking part in attacks in Mali in 2015 that left dozens dead, including an American aid worker, has been extradited to the United States to face multiple terrorism charges in federal court in Brooklyn, authorities said Saturday.
The man, Fawaz Ould Ahmed Ould Ahemeid, 44, has previously pleaded guilty to related offenses in Mali, where he was sentenced to death. He arrived in the United States on Friday and appeared before a federal magistrate in Brooklyn on Saturday, where he pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Ahemeid has been detained pending trial. The terms of the extradition, and what that means for his sentence in Mali, were not immediately clear.
In an unsealed indictment on Saturday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York charged Mr. Ahemeid with the murder of American aid worker Anita Ashok Datar, as well as providing material support to Al -Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — Al Regional subsidiary of Al-Qaeda in North Africa – and related crimes.
Ms. Datar, a 41-year-old public health expert from Takoma Park, Maryland, was a guest at the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, on November 20, 2015, when two gunmen attacked the hotel, killing 20 people. people. Prosecutors said Mr Ahemeid orchestrated the attack on behalf of the al-Qaeda affiliate and a local militant group, al-Murabitoun.
According to the indictment, Mr. Ahemeid, a Mauritanian national, joined al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb around 2007.
Federal prosecutors said he planned and carried out at least three major terrorist attacks against Western targets in Mali. On March 7, 2015, Mr. Ahemeid — armed with two assault rifles, a pistol and grenades — attacked a restaurant in Bamako. Five people were killed.
On August 7, 2015, Mr. Ahemeid helped plan and carry out an attack on the Byblos Hotel in Sévaré, Mali, in which 13 people were killed, including five United Nations employees, the authorities said. prosecutors.
Mr. Ahemeid was arrested in Mali in 2016 and pleaded guilty in 2020 to charges related to the attacks on a hotel and restaurant.
According to an account of his sentencing in Mali, which was reported by Reuters, Mr Ahemeid described the attacks in detail, saying he had no regrets. He said he executed them in revenge for the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad printed by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.