TUNIS Muammar Gaddafi's former prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, has started a hunger strike in a prison in Tunisia to protest a request for his extradition from Libya's new rulers, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Al-Mahmoudi was arrested last week and jailed for six months for entering Tunisia illegally.
He won an appeal against that sentence but Tunisian prosecutors now say they are keeping him in prison because of the request from Libya's National Transitional Council.
"Al-Mahmoudi began a hunger strike to protest the intention to seek his extradition to Libya," his lawyer, Mabrouk Korchid, told Reuters. "He is ready to face justice but he is afraid for his safety."
Korchid quoted Al-Mahmoudi as saying: "I secured food for Libya in times of crisis and I only had a technical role."
His detention is the most high-profile of any Gaddafi associate since the fall of the capital Tripoli in August.
(\Writing by Barry Malone)