News24

Tunisia court acquits Libyan ex-PM

2012-02-14 15:35

Tunis - A Tunisian court cleared Libyan former prime minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi on Tuesday on a charge he had crossed illegally into Tunisia as he fled Libya last year, his lawyer said.

"The court... has acquitted al-Mahmudi and so we are demanding his immediate release," lawyer Mabrouk Kourchid said after the hearing in the southern city of Tozeur. "There is no legal reason to keep him in prison."

Mahmudi is also the subject of two extradition requests from Libya, which he fled following the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

The 70-year-old former prime minister, who has been detained since his September 21 arrest, appeared in court after being transferred from prison by ambulance.

Although his extradition has been approved by Tunisian courts, then interim president Fouad Mebazaa declined to sign extradition papers and his successor Moncef Marzouki has told Tripoli he would be returned when conditions were in place for a "fair trial".

Mahmudi is appealing on the grounds that he has applied for refugee status and could face execution if sent back to his homeland.