Egypt court stops extradition of top Gadhafi aide

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court ruled Wednesday against the extradition to Libya of a former close aide of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Ahmed Qaddaf al-Dam, a relative of Gadhafi who for decades coordinated relations between the Libya and Egypt, challenged a Libyan request to extradite him following his arrest last month at his Cairo home.

Two other Libyan officials arrested along with him have already been sent back to Libya.

Libyan authorities sought the men for alleged corruption and roles in Libya's eight-month civil war that ended with Gadhafi's death in 2011. Libya has also asked Egypt to hand over around 100 other former regime officials.

In its ruling, Egypt's Administrative Court suspended the extradition procedures, saying al-Dam had asked not to be extradited. The court said al-Dam is being treated as an asylum seeker and that Egypt is obliged to respond to his request because he fears he won't be guaranteed his full rights in Libya.

Human Rights Watch had appealed to Egypt and other countries asked to extradite people to Libya to seek credible guarantees from Libyan authorities that they have ended ill-treatment and torture in detention and that they would be guaranteed fair trials.

Egypt has been traditionally reluctant to hand over exiled politicians or officials from ousted regimes. Egypt offered refuge to Libya's deposed king Idris after Gadhafi's 1969 bloodless coup and also hosted Iran's ousted Shah after the 1979 Islamic revolution there.