Tripoli, 28 February 2013:
Claims by his Tunisian lawyer that Qaddafi-era Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, held at Al Hadba prison in Tripoli, was in “critical condition” having been tortured have been refuted by the UN Support Mission in Libya.
UNSMIL said its representatives had visited Mahmoudi in prison today, Thursday, in response to the allegations and that he had told them “unequivocally“ in private that he had not been tortured.
Mahmoudi “appeared in decent physical and psychological condition and his general demeanor was relaxed,” an UNSMIL statement said. “He stated that he is being treated well, and although he suffers from various medical conditions, he has adequate access to medical care.”
UNSMIL said its visit was facilitated by the Justice Minister Salah Bashir Margani personally as a matter of high priority. Most of the visit took place in the presence of the prison director, it noted, but representatives had had “the opportunity to talk to him privately for some time and asked whether he was mistreated. He unequivocally said he was not.”
Yesterday, Wedenesday, Tunisian lawyer Mabrouk Kourchid put out a statement saying Mahmudi “is in critical condition as a result of the torture he has suffered”. He had added: “He could die”.
The reports were immediately denied by the Deputy Defence Minister Khaled Al-Sherif. “Baghdadi al-Mahmudi has not been subjected to any ill-treatment and has been granted his full rights guaranteed by international law and the principles of human rights,” he said.
Exactly on what basis the Tunisian lawyer made his claims is unclear. UNSMIL says that Mahmoudi told its representatives today that he has “no non-Libyan lawyers on his legal team”, and that “he is being represented by a team consisting fully of Libyan lawyers”.
USLMIL added: “He expressed his wish to have more access to his lawyers and that they should be granted more access to the prosecution file against him. He said he has received some family visits, but not by his wife and children who are outside the country.”
Mahmoudi fled to Tunsia in August 2011 and was arrested there the following month after being caught trying to slip across the border into Algeria. He was extradited to Libya last June by the Tunisian government despite the opposition of Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki who condemned the move as illegal.
Charged with a number of crimes including reposnsibility for the deaths of Libyans, corruption, ordering a mass rape in Zuara during the revolution, his trial started in November.