Tunisia to Extradite Libya's Ex-PM Back to Tripoli
Tunisia has agreed to extradite former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi back to his homeland to face charges of treason.
Mahmoudi has spent the past eight months in Tunisia after fleeing Libya in the final days of the revolution that toppled the regime of former dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Following a visit by Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced to reporters, "Tunisia will never be a refuge for those who represent a threat to Libya's security.”
The move comes despite a statement signed by 15 Tunisian and international human rights groups warning that Mahmoudi could face torture or even death at the hands of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) government if he is returned.
Tunisian law requires the extradition to be approved by a panel of judges before the decision is made by the prime minister.
The Libyan ex-prime minister's attorney denounced the decision, saying “Tunisian authorities show they do not respect human rights and have done away with humanitarian principles.” Bechir Essid added that there is no guarantee that Mahmoudi will be safe in Libya.
When Qaddafi was captured and arrested by rebel forces, he was immediately beaten to death, rather than placed in detention to await trial. One of his sons suffered the same fate when he was captured last year as well.
Mahmoudi served as Qaddafi's final prime minister before he was toppled from power. He was arrested in September while crossing the border into Tunisia while trying to reach Algeria, where Qaddafi's wife, daughter, one son and a grandchild had taken refuge.