Lawyer: Tunisian suspect in Libya attack freed


Associated Press

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 8 at 12:08 PM

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — It's the latest setback to the investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in September.

Authorities in Tunisia have released one of the only men in custody for alleged links to the attack, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Ali Harzi is a 26-year-old Tunisian who was extradited from Turkey in October. At the time, Tunisian authorities said they "strongly suspected" he was involved.

But today, his lawyer says a judge has "conditionally freed" Harzi for lack of evidence. He still has to remain in or near the Tunisian capital, to be available for further questioning.

One analyst says while it's possible that Harzi might have been involved with extremist groups, it's impossible to tell without more effort from Libya.

Even last month, U.S. officials were saying there's been a lack of cooperation from the governments in the region, particularly in Libya, in the investigation into the attack, and that most of the suspects remain free.

In November, the official in charge of security in Benghazi was assassinated. And on Sunday, Libya's government announced that the investigator who was sent to look into his death was kidnapped.

%@AP Links

119-c-17-(Paul Schemm, AP correspondent)-"to hold him"-AP correspondent Paul Schemm reports a Tunisian court has released the only suspect in custody over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. (8 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *119 (01/08/13)>> 00:17 "to hold him"

121-c-16-(Paul Schemm, AP correspondent)-"fight the jihad"-AP correspondent Paul Schemm reports the suspect's family has a history of involvement with extremist groups. (8 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *121 (01/08/13)>> 00:16 "fight the jihad"

APPHOTO LON104: FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. A man linked to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been conditionally released by Tunisian authorities due to lack of evidence, his lawyer said Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013. The release of Ali Harzi, a 26-year-old Tunisian, appears to represent a blow to the investigation of the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate in Libya. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File) (13 Sep 2012)

<<APPHOTO LON104 (09/13/12)>>