Tunisia announced Tuesday that it intends to extradite former Libyan prime minister Al-Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi back to his home country after detaining him for eight months.
Al-Mahmoudi was arrested by Tunisian authorities last September after he had illegally crossed the border while trying to flee to Algeria to seek refuge, along with members of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Ghadafi's family.
Tunisia will never be a refuge for those who represent a threat to Libya's security, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said Tuesday after meeting with his Libyan counterpart Abdurrahim el-Keib, the Associated Press reported.
The extradition, however, has been decried by lawyers and human rights groups who say that Al-Mahmoudi might be endangered by returning to Libya, where strong anti-Gaddafi sentiment pervades the interim government brought to power by rebels that overthrew and killed the former Libyan leader last year.
Mondher Bedhiafi, a spokesperson for the Tunisian justice ministry, said Libyan authorities gave their assurance that Al-Mahmoudi would receive a fair trial, the AP reported.
Al-Mahmoudi's lawyer Bechir Essid said that Libya could not guarantee his client's safety, citing the nation's instability under the interim government.
The Tunisian authorities show that they do not respect human rights and have done away with humanitarian principles, Essid said, the AP reported.
Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have also opposed Al-Mahmoudi's extradition, citing as examples the murder and torture of former members of the ousted Ghadafi regime.
Ex-Ghadafi Intelligence Chief Arrested In Mauritania
Another top regime figure, Libya's former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, faces a three-year prison sentence for illegally entering Mauritania.
Warrants for his arrest have also been issued by Libya and the International Criminal Court for his role in supporting Ghadafi during the civil war, though Mauritanian officials have not indicated whether or not he will be extradited.
Senussi had attempted to enter Mauritania from Mali using a fake passport. He is currently being held in an undisclosed location with no trial date set.