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Former Libyan PM applies for UN refugee status


13:00, November 12, 2011

TUNIS, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmoudi has applied to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for political refugee status, in a bid to prevent his extradition to Libya after a Tunisian appeals court agreed to extradite him, Radio Mosaique FM reported Friday, citing Mahmoudi's defense team.

Mahmoudi who had been arrested for illegally trying to cross into Algeria was released before being taken back into custody after the new Libyan authorities issued an extradition request.

His lawyers also said that they had presented a recourse to the Geneva-based UN committee against torture. Rights groups in Tunisia and abroad have expressed concern for the former Libyan official's physical integrity.

Recently, Tunisia's human rights league urged the country's interim President Fouad Mebazaa not to sign the extradition order. One of the country's political parties, the pro-Arab Unionist Democratic Union expressed its concern about a possible "deal" behind Mahmoudi's extradition order, saying the conditions for a fair trial did not exist in Libya.

However, Libyan authorities have reaffirmed that Mahmoudi will have "a fair trial." The director of the Libyan supreme security committee, Ibrahim Abd Al-Rahman, told Xinhua that Mahmoudi will not meet the fate of Muammar Gaddafi and his son and will be presented to a Libyan court, assuring that he will be treated according to human rights principles.

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