Tunis, 22 May:
Qaddafi’s former Prime Minister, Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, who is being held in Tunisia, has gone back on a hunger strike . . .[restrict]in protest against the possibility of him being extradited to Libya.
According to his chief defense lawyer, Mabrouk Kourchid, he had started the hunger strike on Saturday following last week’s comments by the Tunisian Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, in which hinted at the possibility of extraditing Mahmoudi to Tripoli.
This is at least the sixth time that Mahmoudi has gone on hunger strike while held by the Tunisians. In March, one of his legal team said that his client was close to death after a week-long hunger strike.
In a joint press conference in Tunis on Thursday with Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib, Jebali said that Tunisia would not harbor those who threatened the security of Libya. His statement came in response to a question about the fate of Mahmoudi.
Mahmoudi, 67, fled to Tunisia in August. He was arrested in September 2011 when he was caught trying to cross over into Algeria. In February, a court in the southern Tunisian town of Tozeur acquitted him on charges of illegally entering Tunisia, but he remains in jail because Libyan requests to extradite him have been approved by the Tunisian courts.
Libya has charged him with financial corruption during Qaddafi’s era as well as incitement to rape Libyan women during the 17 February revolution.
The Tunisian Court of Appeal made two separate rulings, on 8 and 25 November, 2011, to extradite Mahmoudi to Libya, but they can only be implemented when signed by the Tunisian president. Both the present incumbent Moncef Marzouki who assumed office in December, and his predecessor Fouad Mebazaa, refused to extradite Mahmoudi unless conditions of a fair trial in Libya were guaranteed, including a promise that he would not be executed.
Last week, it was claimed that a group from Zuara had plotted to assassinate him. [/restrict]