UNHCR says unable to confirm Libya ex-PM's refugee claim

11th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN refugees agency said Friday it was unable to confirm if Libya's former prime minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi had applied for UN political refugee status.

"We are aware of this information, but we are not in a position to confirm if the former prime minister has made such a request," a spokesman told AFP.

"When someone asks for refugee status, we would then proceed to examine the situation before deciding," he added.

One of al-Mahmudi's lawyers said the ex-premier had sought refugee status in the hopes that it would prevent his extradition from Tunisia.

"If the HCR (the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) grants Mr Mahmudi refugee status it will no longer be possible to extradite him," said the lawyer, Taufik Wanas.

A Tunisian appeals court this week gave the nod for Mahmudi's extradition to Libya although rights groups have expressed concern for his safety if he is sent back.

© 2011 AFP

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