Tunisia deports Libya′s ex-prime minister | News | DW | 22.05.2012
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Tunisia deports Libya's ex-prime minister

The man who served as Libya's prime minister under Gadhafi is being extradited from Tunisia back to his country after months of uncertainty. Meanwhile, violence has returned to Benghazi.

Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmudi.

al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmudi

Tunisia's justice minister, Noureddine Bouheiri, on Tuesday announced his country's decision to extradite former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, who has been detained in Tunisia since his arrest last September.

"The government has decided to hand over Mahmoudi and all that remains is the completion of some organizational issues," said Bouheiri.

"[The handover] could be within days or weeks or perhaps longer ... Our Libyan brothers have pledged to respect Mahmoudi physically and emotionally and to give him a fair trial," Bouheiri added.

Although charges against al-Mahmoudi of illegally entering Tunisia were dropped, he has remained in prison since last year, awaiting a decision on his extradition to Libya. A Tunisian court in November ruled in favor of extradition, but Tunisian President Moncef al-Marzouki later said that this could not happen until the former prime minister could be guaranteed a fair trial in a more stable Libya.

Al-Mahmoudi was a key and longstanding figure within the inner political circle of Moammar Gadhafi, who ruled the country until he was overthrown and killed in the revolt that gripped the country last year.

Another wave of violence

Meanwhile, in a fresh round of violence, a rocket-propelled grenade on Tuesday hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Benghazi, the Libyan city that gave birth to the country's recent revolution, according to the organization's spokesperson.

"The premises of our delegation were hit by an RPG rocket but there were no casualties," said Soaad Messudi.

Thirty-five international and local staff members normally work at the targeted building, which is located in the western part of Benghazi. The ICRC has been working on the ground in Libya since the uprising against Gadhafi first exploded in February 2011, according to Messudi. The ICRC has maintained a neutral stance while undertaking humanitarian operations there ever since.

A branch of the Sahara Bank was also hit by a rocket attack in Benghazi on the same day, although there were no injuries, witnesses said.

The attacks mark a continuation of a pattern of violence in Benghazi in recent months. In April a courthouse was bombed, causing damage to the building and wounding four people.

sej/ncy (AP, AFP, Reuters)