Last updated: 28 February, 2013

Kadhafi premier in “decent” condition in jail, says UN

UN representatives on Thursday visited Moamer Kadhafi’s last premier in a Libyan jail and discounted reports that the former senior official had been tortured.

Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi “appeared in decent physical and psychological condition and his general demeanor was relaxed,” the UN mission in Libya said in a statement after the visit to the Al-Hadba jail in Tripoli.

“He stated that he is being treated well, and although he suffers from various medical conditions, he has adequate access to medical care.”

When UN envoys asked Mahmudi whether he was mistreated, “he unequivocally said he was not,” it said.

A lawyer for Mahmudi, who is on trial accused of killing civilians and committing financial crimes, charged on Wednesday that the last premier of Libya’s late dictator had been tortured in prison.

The government angrily rejected the claims and the United Nations said the justice ministry organized the visit “as a matter of high priority” because of the reports.

“Al-Baghdadi is in good health… and is being treated humanely,” Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told a new conference.

The claim has also been dismissed by the commander of the national guard, which runs the Al-Hadba prison.

Tunisian lawyer Mabrouk Kourchid said on Wednesday that Mahmudi could die and was “in critical condition as a result of the torture he has suffered.”

The lawyer did not give further details, however, nor reveal his sources for the claim. Paris-based lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur said Wednesday he could refer the case to a UN special investigator on torture because of the allegations.

The UN statement quoted Mahmudi as saying he did not have any foreign lawyers on his team.

Mahmudi fled to Tunisia in September 2011, shortly after rebels seized Tripoli to end Kadhafi’s four-decade rule. He was extradited back to Libya in June of last year.

At his last court hearing on February 11, Mahmudi, who was premier from 2006 until the final days of the regime, appeared weak but in good health. He is due back in court on March 18.