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Tunisia hands former Gadhafi PM over to Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 25, 2012 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, Libya's most recent prime minister under the Gadhafi regime, is in Libyan custody.
Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, Libya's most recent prime minister under the Gadhafi regime, is in Libyan custody.
  • Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi is in the custody of prison officials in Tripoli
  • He was arrested in Tunisia in September
  • He was the prime minister under former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi

(CNN) -- Libya's most recent prime minister under the regime of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi was in Libyan custody on Sunday after extradition from Tunisia, a Libyan justice official said.

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi was handed over to prison officials in Tripoli, said the official, who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Mahmoudi was arrested in September near Tamaghza, near Tunisia's border with Algeria. At the time, the Tunisian interior minister said he had entered Tunisia illegally without a visa. The ministry said he was attempting to cross into Algeria at the time of his arrest. A decision to sentence him to six months in prison was later overturned on appeal.

Al-Mahmoudi is the first high-level Libyan official to be sent back for trial.

In November, a Tunisian court rejected a request to release al-Mahmoudi and decided to extradite him despite arguments from his defense team that the lack of stability in Libya means he would not have a fair trial, according to Tunisian state news reports.

Human Rights Watch also called on Tunisia to halt al-Mahmoudi's extradition, saying the former premier is expected to face "a real risk of toruture."

Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for nearly 42 years, was toppled in a civil war last year and killed after several months in hiding.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

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