Malian national sentenced to 25 years for murder of U.S. Defense Dept. employee

Malian-national-sentenced-to-25-years-for-murder-of-US-Defense-Dept-employee.    NEW YORK,  The Malian man who murdered a U.S. Defense Department attache in Niger in 2000 was sentenced to 25 years in prison, U.S. prosecutors announced Tuesday.

lhassane Ould Mohamed, aka Cheibani, 46, escaped twice after he was arrested and charged with the murder of American military attache William Bultemeier. Photo courtesy of the FBI.
















U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II of the Eastern District of New York handed down the sentence in a Brooklyn courtroom.

lhassane Ould Mohamed, aka Cheibani, 46, conspired to kill diplomat William Bultemeier while he was stationed in Miamey, Niger, in December 2000. Bultemeier died of injuries from the gunshot wounds. Staff Sgt. Christopher McNeely, who was leaving a restaurant with Bultemeier in Niamey, survived the shooting and later retired from the Marine Corps.

Mohamed and a co-conspirator accosted a group of employees of the U.S. embassy. They approached Bultemeier as he was about the get into his car with diplomatic plates. After they demanded he turn over the keys, they shot him and McNeeley, who had run to Bultemeier’s aid.

“Although nothing can undo the pain caused by the defendant’s violent actions, we hope the victims’ families can take some measure of solace in knowing that the defendant is being held accountable for the senseless murder of Mr. Bultemeier and the attack on Staff Sergeant McNeely,” said U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers. “The United States takes the protection of its employees stationed overseas very seriously and will continue to work tirelessly to bring those who harm our diplomats to justice.”

Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez noted that justice took too long.

“Over the past 16 years, Cheibani evaded full accountability for his murderous actions in taking the life of a U.S. diplomat,” Rodriguez said. “U.S. employees working overseas understand there are certain risks in representing their government in foreign territories; however, a death sentence should not be one of them.”

Cheibani originally was arrested three days after the shooting but escaped custody in 2002. He was then arrested in 2010 for the murder of four Saudi Arabians, and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but escaped prison on June 1, 2013. In November 2013 he was arrested by French forces in Mali.

By Allen Cone