TRIPOLI - Tunisia has extradited former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's prime minister to Libya, a Libyan security official said on Sunday, making him the first senior official to be sent back for trial under the country's transitional leadership.
Defense ministry official Mohammed al-Ahwal told Reuters that a helicopter transferred Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi to Tripoli on Sunday.
"Mahmoudi is now in Tripoli and we are holding him in a prison," Ahwal said.
Mahmoudi served as the Libyan dictator's prime minister from 2006 until he fled to neighboring Tunisia around the time that rebel fighters took the capital Tripoli in August.
His extradition could establish a precedent for other countries who have given refuge to or arrested members of Gadhafi's old entourage.
Tripoli considers it a matter of national pride and a measure of the country's transformation that trials of people like Mahmoudi and Gadhafi's imprisoned son Saif al-Islam be held in Libya.
But human rights groups question whether its justice system can meet the standards of international law and say he should be handed over to the ICC instead.
A Tunisian court ruled as far back as November that Mahmoudi should be extradited. But Tunisian President Moncef al-Marzouki later said the handover would not happen until the situation in Libya had stabilized and Mahmoudi could be guaranteed a fair trial after Gadhafi himself was killed by rebels and his rotting corpse left on display.
More world news from msnbc.com and NBC News:
- Paraguay under pressure from neighbors after president Lugo ousted
- Greek PM cannot attend EU summit due to surgery
- Naked valkyries? Nudes open German opera season
- Turkey seeks NATO action over Syria military jet downing
- 14 mutilated corpses, threat message to drug cartel found in Mexican city
- Suu Kyi's journey to global icon: a heart-breaking tale of personal sacrifice
- Fourth Syrian Red Crescent worker shot dead
Follow us on Twitter: @msnbc_world
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.