TUNIS — A Tunis judge has charged a Tunisian man arrested in Turkey for being part of a terror cell, his lawyer said on Thursday, amid reports he is linked to last month's attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
"The investigating magistrate charged him with membership in a terrorist group based abroad," defence attorney Anouar Ouled Ali told AFP.
He refused to give further details saying only that his client, Ali Hamzi, was arrested in Turkey and deported to Tunisia on October 11, a month after the attack on the US consulate in Libya's eastern city Benghazi.
US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the September 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
The lawyer denied US media reports that Hamzi was involved in the Benghazi attack.
"He is not linked to this affair," he said.
Officials from the interior and justice ministry confirmed that Hamzi was deported from Turkey and was being detained in Tunisia but also declined to give further details.
In a related development, Egyptian police on Thursday said that a gunman killed during a raid on an apartment in northern Cairo the previous day is suspected of involvement in the Benghazi attack.
In recent weeks Tunisian leaders have complained about the rising influence of radical Salafists in their country.
Last month the leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, Rached Ghannouchi, told AFP authorities would crack down on Salafists particularly after deadly violence in September around the US embassy.
And President Moncef Marzouki warned in published remarks this month that jihadists were posing a "great danger" to the entire Maghreb region, and turning it into a "terrorist" hub.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »