Tunisia frees man held over attack on U.S. consulate in Libya

Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:41am EST
 

Tunis (Reuters) - Tunisia has freed, for lack of evidence, a Tunisian man who had been suspected of involvement in an Islamist militant attack in Libya last year in which the U.S. ambassador was killed, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Ali Harzi was one of two Tunisians named in October by the Daily Beast website as having been detained in Turkey over the violence in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other American officials were killed.

"The judge decided to free Harzi and he is free now," lawyer Anouar Awled Ali told Reuters. "The release came in response to our request to free him for lack of evidence and after he underwent the hearing with American investigators as a witness in the case."

A Tunisian justice ministry spokesman confirmed the release of Harzi but declined to elaborate.

A month ago, Harzi refused to be interviewed by visiting U.S. FBI investigators over the September 11 assault on the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

The Daily Beast reported that shortly after the attacks began, Harzi posted an update on an unspecified social media site about the fighting.

It said Harzi was on his way to Syria when he was detained in Turkey at the behest of U.S. authorities, and that he was affiliated with a militant group in North Africa.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori