US Benghazi consulate attack: Sole suspect 'freed'

US consulate attack in Benghazi, 11 Sept 2012 The attack on 11 September killed the US envoy and three other Americans

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The only suspect to be held over the attack on the US embassy in the Libyan city of Benghazi has been released due to lack of evidence, his lawyer says.

Ali Harzi, who was being held by authorities in Tunisia, was conditionally released on Monday night, the lawyer said.

The attack on 11 September killed the US envoy to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American officials.

The case has created political shockwaves in the US.

'Systematic failures'

The lawyer, Anwar Oued-Ali, told the Associated Press news agency that his client must remain within the greater Tunis area in case the court recalled him.

US Benghazi report: Key findings

  • There were "systematic failures at senior levels" within two bureaus of the state department, but no individual official ignored their duties
  • Reliance on armed "but poorly skilled" local militiamen and contract guards was "misplaced"
  • US personnel had "performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues in a near-impossible situation"
  • There was "no immediate, specific" intelligence about the 11 September attack or threats to the consulate
  • The Libyan government's response to the attack was "profoundly lacking"

Mr Oued-Ali denies there is any evidence linking Mr Harzi to the attack.

Mr Harzi, a 26-year-old native Tunisian, was arrested in Turkey in October and repatriated. He was questioned by FBI agents last month.

A US report into the Benghazi killings found "systematic failures at senior levels".

Mr Stevens died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped alone in the burning building after armed men had stormed the compound.

Days after the attack, the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the attack seemed to have developed out of protests over an anti-Islamic film.

But later intelligence reports suggested it was a planned attack by Islamist gunmen.

Ms Rice was forced to pull out of the race to be the next secretary of state after being subjected to widespread criticism.

The US report led to the resignation of diplomatic security chief Eric Boswell, while three other unnamed officials were put on administrative leave.

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