By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 4 July:
Qaddafi’s last prime minister, Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, has once again denied claims he was tortured upon his return . . .[restrict]to Libya from Tunisia on 24 June.
Mahmoudi’s French and Tunisian lawyers had respectively alleged that their client had a broken leg, a punctured lung, had fallen into a coma, had been beaten on the back of the head and was probably dead.
An interview given by Mahmoudi on the Tunisian television station Al-Zitouna on 29 June appeared to show the falsehood of these claims, excepting the allegation of a broken leg.
Mahmoudi was not seen standing in that interview, and the camera never left his upper torso.
However, in an interview with a group of Libyan journalists yesterday, Mahmoudi was seen standing unaided, apparently confirming that his leg had also not been broken.
Mahmoudi took the opportunity of yesterday’s interview to insist “I am not guilty, not guilty, not guilty”, whilst also repeating his earlier assertion that claims of mistreatment were “a lie”.
The allegations prompted widespread anger outside of Libya, with rights groups including Amnesty International condemning Tunisia’s decision to extradite Mahmoudi, saying it put him at serious risk of abuse.
Tunisia’s own president, Moncef Marzouki, likewise condemned the decision, declaring it “illegal” and “a clear violation of our country’s international commitments and those towards the UN”.
The Tunisian government, which is separate from the presidency, has defended its decision, saying it had received adequate assurances that Mahmoudi would not be mistreated once returned to Libyan custody.