Libyan ex-prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, held in a Tunisian prison, fears for his life as the sole holder of Libyan state secrets since Moamer Kadhafi's death, his lawyer said Monday.
"After the death of Moamer Kadhafi, he became the only one to hold the secrets of the Libyan state, and has become valuable prey for the secret service," lawyer Mabruk Kurchid told a news conference in Tunis.
"Baghdadi al-Mahmudi is appealing for help because he fears for his life. There is an attempt to influence Tunisian justice" by the Libyan authorities, Kurchid said.
Mahmudi, Libya's premier until the final days of Kadhafi's regime, was arrested on September 21 on Tunisia's southwestern border with Algeria under a warrant from the new authorities in Tripoli.
A Tunisian court swiftly sentenced the 70-year-old to six months in prison after finding him guilty of illegal entry, but that decision was overruled on appeal.
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The new Libyan authorities who toppled Kadhafi have sought Mahmudi's extradition, for which a hearing has been scheduled on November 22.
Despite a provisional release granted last Thursday by a Tunisian court, Mahmudi remains behind bars, his lawyer said.
"I am concerned by my client's health, which is deteriorating," he said of Mahmudi, who briefly went on a hunger strike in late September.
Tunisia's justice ministry said Mahmudi was kept behind bars following a second extradition request filed by the interim authorities in Tunis on October 27.
A ministry spokesman told AFP that the two countries are bound by a 1961 agreement which includes provisions on extradition.
Tunisia in August recognised Libya's National Transitional Council as the country's new authority and has committed itself to cooperation on security issues.