Interview with former Libyan Prime Minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi – 19/07/2011
Libya’s former prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi has applied for UN political refugee status to try to prevent his extradition from Tunisia, one of his lawyers said Friday.
“If the HCR (the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) grants Mr Mahmudi refugee status it will no longer be possible to extradite him,” said the lawyer, Taufik Wanas.
A Tunisian appeals court this week gave the nod for Mahmudi’s extradition to Libya although rights groups have expressed concern for his safety if he is sent back.
“I am hopeful that the Tunisian people will not extradite a refugee,” said Mahmudi, who appeared at a separate Tunis court on Friday in connection with a fresh extradition request submitted by the authorities in Tripoli.
His lawyers also said they would also seek help with Mahmudi’s case from the Geneva-based UN Committee against Torture.
Mahmudi, 70, was prime minister until the final days of the regime of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, who was shot dead after his capture by National Transitional Council fighters last month.
Mahmudi was arrested on September 21 on Tunisia’s southwestern border with Algeria and jailed for illegal entry. He is being held in a prison near Tunis and failed on Wednesday in a court bid to secure his release.