Tunisian parliament to convene over disputed extradition of former Libyan PM

Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Jun 2012

Rift grows between Tunisia's interim leaders following controversial extradition of former Libyan PM by Tunisia's prime minister without the president's consent

Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki (Photo: Reuters)

The Tunisian constituent assmembly tasked with drafting the country's new constitution is set to convene Tuesday for an urgent session on the controversial extradition of former Libyan prime minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi to Libya.

Al-Mahmoudi was extradited to Libya on Sunday following a unilateral decision by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, which was, in turn, largely rejected by President Moncef Marzouki who claims he was not informed and did not approve the decision.

In fact, Marzouki had been attending an official ceremony in southern Tunisia at the time the decision was made and reportedly only read about it in the press.

This fissure is the latest incident representing Marzouki's troubled alliance with Jebali's Ennahda (Renaissance) party that won Tunisia's post-uprising polls in October 2011.   

Tensions grew following reports by Mahmoudi's French lawyer Marcel Ceccaldion Monday that Mahmoudi had been hospitalised with a brain haemorrhage following a beating to the head.

Marzouki, a veteran human rights activist, had largely opposed the extradition, as he argued that Libya's new regime offered "insufficient guarantees" of a fair trial.

However, as reported in the Guardian newspaper on Monday, the Tunisian executive has claimed the decision was legal and did not necessarily need to be approved by the president.

They further added that the possible extradition was studied well beforehand, whereby a delegation visited Tripoli and found Libya's justice system competent enough to conduct the trial.    

Following the extradition, lawyer Ceccaldion described how his client had been rushed out of Tunisia in the early hours of Sunday in a "kidnapping."

"This is an extradition to a rogue country by a government using gangster methods," he said in Paris, as reported by AFP on Monday.

Following threats by Marzouki on Monday to take the issue to the constituent assembly, Ennahda spokesman Nejib Gharbi stated, "I don't think the troika's future is at risk. It's a strategic alliance."

Tunisia's power-sharing government includes the Ennahda party, which holds the prime ministerial position; Congress of the Republic which holds the presidency, and the leftist Ettakatol Party, which holds the parliamentary speaker position.

Mahmoudi had fled Libya in August after rebel forces stormed Tripoli, and he had been held in Tunisia for illegal entry into the country.  


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