Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Benghazi attack suspect’s father says son is innocent | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

Tunis, Asharq Al-Awsat – On Monday evening the Court of First Instance in Tunis released Ali Harzi (26 years old); the Tunisian youth accused in the case of the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the death of the US ambassador there.

His release comes after being detained in Tunisian custody for three months. The US authorities had initially asked their Turkish counterparts to arrest Harzi at the beginning of last October, and gave him the option of being tried in either Turkey or Tunisia. Opposition parties subsequently launched a political campaign against the Tunisian government for allowing American federal investigators to attend the defendant’s interrogation sessions. The Tunisian Justice Ministry justified the Americans’ presence by citing a bilateral judicial agreement between the two countries.

A few days after his arrest, Harzi’s father declared that his son was innocent of any involvement in the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and said that the Tunisian authorities merely wanted to present “a scapegoat” to the American authorities.

In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat the day after his son’s release, Taher Harzi said the Americans had wasted too much time chasing what he called illusions and mirages. He added that his son’s innocence was clear right from the start but the Americans, in collusion with the Tunisian authorities, wanted to take any step that would satisfy the American public before the US elections, and this prompted them to announce the arrest of his son under the accusation of carrying out the Benghazi attack.

Regarding the presence of American investigators at recent interrogation sessions, Taher Harzi said this did not change anything with regards to his son’s innocence, which he was always fully convinced of, despite his reservations about US interference in Tunisian judicial affairs.

Taher Harzi previously worked strenuously for years to underline the innocence of his second son Tariq Harzi, who fled from the “Tikrit” prison in Iraq, or an American detention center as he put it. Tariq was arrested in Iraq in 2006 and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment under “terrorism” charges. Taher added that the Americans failed in both cases to prove the charge against his two sons, claiming that many of the previous accusations in the so-called “war on terror” were built on the basis of suspicion and nothing else.