It has been announced that the Court of Appeal in Tunis has ruled that former Libyan official Milad Abdul Salam be handed over to the authorities in Tripoli.
Milad Abdul Salam, 44, who was particularly close associate of Qaddafi, was arrested on 28 December on the Tunisian-Libyan border and charged with attempting to enter the country illegally.
His lawyer, Mohamed Baccar, has attacked the court’s decision to uphold a lower court ruling that he be extradited to Libya where he is wanted on financial corruption charges. He said that the appeal court had not properly dealt with the case, accusing it of not understanding the issues of extradition. He claimed that extraditing his client was both illegal and unethical.
Abdul Salam, he said, had gone to Tunisia on business but was now a refugee who faced reprisals in Libya if he returned.
“My client is a prisoner, who is victim of Libyan authorities’ deception of Tunisian authorities by claiming that Abdul Salam has stolen money from Libyans. This is not true.”
Despite the large presence of pro-Qaddafi Libyans in Tunisia, Abdul Salam, from Sirte, is one of very few to be arrested. The most prominent is former Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi who was similarly charged with illegal entry into Tunisia but was acquitted of the charges in February. He is still being held because the courts had already ruled in favour of a Libyan extradition request. However, both the previous Tunisian president, Foued Mebazzaa, and the current president, Moncef Marzouki, refused to approve it on the grounds that Al-Mahmoudi could be executed if he were returned to Libya.
Baccar hopes a similar decision will be made in Abdul Salam’s case.
It has been reported that Abdul Salam was wanted by Interpol but he is not listed as wanted by the organization.