Tunisia Extradites Gadhafi’s PM Mahmoudi to Libyaإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Tunisia on Sunday extradited Moammar Gadhafi’s former prime minister to Libya, the government announced, despite protests from his lawyers and rights groups that he faces execution.
Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, who fled to neighboring Tunisia last September shortly after rebel fighters took the capital Tripoli, "was extradited this morning," a spokesman for Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali told Agence France Presse.
The extradition sparked a row between the Tunisian prime minister and President Moncef Marzouki, who had said he opposed sending Mahmoudi back to Libya "on principle" and had demanded guarantees he would receive a fair trial.
Lawyers and rights groups have long argued that Mahmoudi, who was Gadhafi’s premier from 2006 until the final days of his regime, will be executed if he returns to Libya, where a February 2011 uprising ended more than four decades of the dictator's rule.
But Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib guaranteed his rights would be protected.
"The Libyan government reiterates that the accused will receive good treatment in accordance with the teachings of our righteous religion and according to international standards of human rights," he said.
He also expressed Libya's "profound thanks and appreciation to the brotherly nation of Tunisia, as a president, government and people, for its historic stance with the Libyan people and its principled attitude in handing over those wanted by justice."
Kib said Mahmoudi, 67, was being held in a prison under the supervision of the ministry of justice and the judiciary police.
The decision to send him home put the Tunisian president and premier at odds with each other.
"President Moncef Marzouki did not sign any decree. This decision will have repercussions for the relationship between the presidency and the government," presidential advisor Adnen Manser told AFP, warning of a "serious crisis".
Marzouki was in southern Tunisia Sunday for commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the national army.
Marzouki is a member of the Congress for the Republic (CPR), a nationalist party allied with Ennahda, the Islamist party that dominates the government.
Jebali is a member of Ennahda, which won Tunisia's first free polls in October -- but, with 41 percent of the vote, not by a big enough margin to govern on their own.
Mahmoudi's lawyer Mabrouk Kourchid, who said his client had been flown to Libya early in the morning on a private plane, condemned the extradition as a "state crime", accusing the government of respecting "neither the law, nor humanitarian values, nor human rights" in the process.
He said his client had applied to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees for political refugee status, but had not yet received an answer.
"The High Commission had not yet given its response, and he should not therefore have been extradited," Kourchid said.
The Tunisian government defended its decision, saying in a statement that a panel of experts sent by Tunis to Tripoli had found that all conditions were in place for a fair trial.
Mahmoudi was arrested on September 21 in Tunisia as he tried to flee to Algeria.