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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

No Progress With The Benghazi Investigation

No Progress With The Benghazi Investigation
11/01/2013 11:26:00
Four months after a brutal assault on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, politicians in Washington are still railing over how diplomats were left vulnerable to attack.

In an analysis of why the investigation is going nowhere TIME magazine referred to the political furore, which now threatens to hold up President Obama’s national-security nominations, stands in stark contrast to the response in Libya itself. There, Libyans say, the investigation is nonoperational, if not effectively dead, with witnesses too fearful to talk and key police officers targeted for violent retribution.

Mohamed Buisier, a political activist in Benghazi, who returned home in 2011 after decades in the US told the magazine: “There is no Libyan investigation. No, no, no. There is not even a will to investigate anything. Even for us civilians, it is very dangerous if you talk about this subject.”

The growing sense that the culprits in the September 11, 2012, attack might never be caught deepened this week, when Tunisian officials released the sole suspect in custody. Citing lack of evidence, they freed Ali al-Harzi, a Tunisian citizen, though he is still restricted from travelling outside the four governorates surrounding Tunis.

According to his lawyer Anour Ouled Ali, Al-Harzi, who was arrested in Turkey shortly after the Benghazi attack and deported to his home country, last month agreed to a three-hour interrogation by FBI agents in Tunisia. The lawyer said that Ali has denied everything. “He told the FBI he was not involved at all.”

Whoever knows differently is for now not talking. And in fact, they might be dead or missing. Last week masked men surrounded the car of Benghazi’s chief of criminal investigations, Captain Abdelsalam al-Mahdawi, while he stopped at a traffic light and abducted him; he has not been seen since.

His kidnapping came less than two months after Benghazi’s police chief, Faraj el-Drissi, was murdered in his Benghazi home and just weeks after armed men attempted to break into a jail in order to free the suspects in custody for el-Drissi’s murder.

The magazine has said that the stymied investigation seems a far cry from the assurances from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, immediately after the attack, that the culprits would be caught.

As the months have gone by, Libyans have come to doubt that will happen, believing that the attack was the work of armed militia too powerful for the weak central government in Tripoli to apprehend.

Benghazi’s residents meanwhile, are slowly moving on and forgetting about the disastrous assault four months ago. The consulate building remains a burned-out ruin. And with al-Harzi out of jail in Tunisia, there is no suspect in custody for the attack.

The Tripoli Post

Categories: News, Press

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