Tunisia hands former Gadhafi PM over to Libya

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, Libya's most recent prime minister under the Gadhafi regime, is in Libyan custody.

Story highlights

  • Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi is in the custody of prison officials in Tripoli
  • He was arrested in Tunisia in September
  • He was the prime minister under former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi

Libya's most recent prime minister under the regime of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi was in Libyan custody on Sunday after extradition from Tunisia, a Libyan justice official said.

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi was handed over to prison officials in Tripoli, said the official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Mahmoudi was arrested in September near Tamaghza, near Tunisia's border with Algeria. At the time, the Tunisian interior minister said he had entered Tunisia illegally without a visa. The ministry said he was attempting to cross into Algeria at the time of his arrest. A decision to sentence him to six months in prison was later overturned on appeal.

Al-Mahmoudi is the first high-level Libyan official to be sent back for trial.

In November, a Tunisian court rejected a request to release al-Mahmoudi and decided to extradite him despite arguments from his defense team that the lack of stability in Libya means he would not have a fair trial, according to Tunisian state news reports.

Human Rights Watch also called on Tunisia to halt al-Mahmoudi's extradition, saying the former premier is expected to face "a real risk of toruture."

Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for nearly 42 years, was toppled in a civil war last year and killed after several months in hiding.

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