Tunisia: Libya`s former prime minister Baghdadi al Mahmudi has applied for political refugee status to try to avoid his extradition from Tunisia, one of his lawyers said on Friday.
"If the HCR (the UN High Commissioner for Refugees)
grants Mr Mahmudi refugee status it will no longer be possible
to extradite him," said the lawyer, Taufik Wanas.
A Tunisian appeals court this week gave the nod for Mahmudi`s extradition to Libya although rights groups have expressed concern for his safety once he is sent back.
Mahmudi, 70, was Prime Minister until the final days of the regime of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. He was arrested on September 21 on Tunisia`s south western border with Algeria and jailed for illegal entry.
Libya`s interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil yesterday pledged to ensure Mahmudi`s security if he is returned.
"First of all we will ensure a secure place for him, then we will guarantee a fair trial, despite the acts he has perpetrated against the Libyan people," Abdel Jalil, chairman of Libya`s National Transitional Council, told a news agency.
Another court in Tunisia was due on Friday to hear a new extradition request against Mahmudi on charges of inciting rape, according to another of his lawyers, Mabrouk Kourchid.