Last Updated: Wed May 23, 2012 22:45 pm (KSA) 19:45 pm (GMT)

Libya guarantees Tunisia fair trial for former prime minister

Former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (R) was arrested in Tunisia last September. (AFP)
Former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (R) was arrested in Tunisia last September. (AFP)

Libyan authorities have guaranteed that former prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi will get a fair trial, meeting Tunisia’s final condition for his extradition, the Tunisian president’s office said Wednesday.

“The Tunisian and Libyan authorities have in principle reached an agreement on Mr Al-Mahmoudi’s extradition after guarantees that there will be a fair trial (and) that all rights of the accused will be respected,” President Moncef Marzouki’s office said in a statement.

The presidency said a committee of independent Tunisian political figures would be formed to oversee the extradition process and monitor promises to protect Mahmoudi’s rights after his transfer to Libya.

“The two parties agreed that this committee will visit Libya as soon as possible and report back to the Tunisian government on its mission,” the statement said.

Tunisian officials said Tuesday that the country was in principle ready to extradite Mahmoudi, held since his arrest last September, but presidential spokesman Adnen Manser said Marzouki still wanted guarantees of a fair trial.

The president is solely authorized to sign an extradition decree, finalizing a process already approved by the courts.

The spokesman had said the extradition “could take place in two or three weeks” once the guarantees were received.

Mahmoudi’s lawyers and human rights groups argue that he will be executed if he returns to Libya, where a February 2011 uprising put an end to more than four decades of Muammar Qaddafi’s dictatorship.

Mahmoudi launched a hunger strike last Saturday after the Tunisian prime minister indicated Thursday that he was in favor of extradition.

The ex-prime minister is the subject of two extradition requests from Tripoli.

An agreement in principle was reached during a visit to Tunis last week by Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib and other members of his government, Manser said.

Tunisia’s January 2011 revolution ousting strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali triggered the pro-democracy Arab Spring.

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