Conflict & Justice

Ali Harzi, sole suspect in Benghazi US consulate attack, released


An armed man waves his rifle after buildings and cars were set on fire inside the US Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.



Ali Harzi, the only suspect in the attack on Benghazi's US consulate which left four officials dead, has been released due to lack of evidence. 

Harzi was being held by authorities in Tunisia for his connection to last year's violent targeting of the embassy which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others. 

"The judge decided to free Harzi and he is free now," his 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."

Harzi was ordered to remain within the greater Tunis area in case he is recalled by the court, BBC News reported

The New York Times reported that "the feebleness of Libya’s transitional government" since Gaddafi's fall has "stymied any progress despite what Benghazi residents describe as an abundance of leads." 

The suspect was reportedly questioned by FBI agents investigating the attack in December, but it is unclear if the questioning yielded any results, according to the Times. 

The release of Harzi has dealt a significant blow to the investigation. Authorities had said that he was "strongly suspected" of being involved, the Associated Press reported.  

Harzi was first detained in Turkey and was extradited to Tunisia in October. 

More from GlobalPost: Tunisia arrests one Benghazi attack suspect; another suspect killed in Egypt