Tripoli, 11 November:
The trial of former prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi will begin on Monday, according to the spokesman for the prosecutor general, Taha Baara.
Mahmoudi, who was extradited from Tunisia in June, has been charged with a series of crimes committed under the former regime of Muammar Qaddafi. Amongst other things, he stands accused of ordering a mass rape in Zuara during the revolution, as well as ordering a hospital manager to transfer dead bodies to buildings hit by NATO airstrikes to infer that they had caused civilian casualties.
He belatedly defected from the Qaddafi regime last August and fled to Tunisia where he was held for ten months. His extradition caused a severe rift between Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jeba, who authorised the move, and President Moncef Marzouki who declared it “illegal” and “a clear violation of our country’s international commitments and those towards the UN”.
Rights groups including Amnesty International also criticised the move, claiming that Mahmoudi would be subjected to human rights abuses once returned to Libya and would likely not receive a fair trial.
To date, however, there is no evidence of mistreatment being carried out against Mahmoudi, and media allegations that he had been tortured upon his return to Tripoli in June were subsequently demonstrated to be false.
The Libyan government has repeatedly insisted that Mahmoudi’s trial will be free and fair. [/restrict]