News24

Libyan ex-PM extradition rattles Tunisia

2012-06-25 20:33

Tunis - Tunisia's post-revolution political alliance faced its deepest crisis yet on Monday after the Islamist prime minister ignored the president's opposition to the extradition of a former top Libyan official.

President Moncef Marzouki was furious that Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali ordered the transfer to Libya of Muammar Gaddafi's last prime minister, Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, without his consent.

Marzouki has always opposed the extradition, arguing Libya's new regime offered insufficient guarantees of a fair trial, and was in southern Tunisia Sunday for an official ceremony when Jebali ordered the move.

The veteran human rights activist did not sign the extradition order and, according to his adviser, found out about Mahmudi's transfer through the media.

The presidency "considers this decision is illegal, all the more so because it has been done unilaterally and without consulting the president of the republic", a statement from Marzouki's office said.

"The extradition decision, signed by the head of the Tunisian government, constitutes a clear violation of our country's international commitments and those towards the UN," the statement added.

The government on Monday retorted there was nothing illegal with the extradition procedure and that Marzouki was duly informed.

"The presidency was informed on Sunday of Mr Mahmudi's extradition," spokesperson Samir Dilou said.

"As soon as the head of the government signed the extradition order, all relevant institutions were informed," Justice Minister Nourredine B'Hiri said on Monday.

Political analyst Ahmed Manai predicted that the affront to Marzouki would leave scars, but also argued that the alliance would survive the incident.

"The damage here is mainly to Mocef Marzouki himself and his standing. He knows he owes Ennahda everything, he knows that his political future depends on them and he cannot afford to confront them," he said.