Al Baghdadi Ali Al Mahmoud...could be on his way back to Libya for trial
Tunisia is reported ready to extradite former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi to Libya. However, it was made clear "guarantees" are sought to ensure a fair trial.
Al-Mahmoudi, has been held by Tunisia since his arrest last September, but Tunisia was still awaiting "guarantees" of a fair trial in Libya, officials said Tuesday.
"The extradition decision has been taken," a justice ministry official told AFP, adding that there were only the procedures to complete with the Libyan authorities.
However a spokesman for Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki - who is understood to be solely authorised to sign an extradition decree - said he still wanted "guarantees" that Mahmoudi would receive a fair trial.
"The official position in principle is to return Mr. Al-Mahmoudi to Libya," Adnen Manser told AFP. "But we must have guarantees concerning respect for the right to a defence, the conditions of incarceration, respect for human rights."
Manser added: "There's no question of handing him over now, but we have agreed with the Libyan side to obtain these guarantees, and from there (the extradition) could take place in two or three weeks."
Mahmoudi's lawyers and human rights groups say he will be executed if he returns to Libya, where an uprising last year put an end to more than four decades of dictatorship by the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
Mabrouk Kourchid, a lawyer for Mahmoudi, who launched a protest hunger strike last Saturday after the Tunisian prime minister indicated Thursday that he was in favour of extradition, slammed the decision, saying that it was ďa disgrace for human rights in Tunisia and for the Tunisian revolution."
Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali did not explicitly state that Tunis would extradite Mahmoudi, who is the subject of two extradition requests from Tripoli, but said he did not want Tunisia to be a "refuge for those who threaten the security of Libya."
An agreement in principle was reached during a visit to Tunis last week by Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb and other members of his government, Manser said.