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Tunisia extradites former Libya PM

The Tunisian government on Sunday extradited former Libyan prime minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi [JURIST news archive] to Libya to face trial for his alleged crimes against the Libyan people. Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali [BBC profile] made the decision over the opposition of Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki [official website, in Arabic; BBC profile] who argued that al-Mahmoudi could be tortured and face unfair trials in Libya. Following the decision, there was speculation of possible tension between the two leading coalitions. Jebali is from the Islamist Ennahda party [BBC backgrounder] while Marzouki is from the liberal Congress for the Republic [official website, in Arabic]. On Monday, the president rebuked [WP report] the PM's decision and argued that Jebali overstepped his authority. He also noted that extradition is an issue of foreign policy rather than an area under the judiciary's authority. On the other hand, governmental officials supporting the prime minister claimed that Sunday's decision was purely technical and administrative.

The extradition came a month after the Tunisian government announced [JURIST report] that it was going to do so upon Libya's assurance that al-Mahmoudi would have a fair trial. Al-Mahmoudi was the head of government under Muammar Gaddafi [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], who was killed in October by opposition forces. Libya's former prime minister has been under detention despite the Tunisian court dropping charges [JURIST report] against him in February, five months after he was arrested in southern Tunisia last September for illegally entering the country. In January, several human rights groups such as the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy websites] had called on Tunisia not to extradite [JURIST report] al-Mahmoudi to Libya.

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