Former Gad­hafi guard to be de­ported

Board finds him com­plicit in crimes

Ottawa Citizen - - CANADA - STE­WART BELL

TORONTO • An Aus­tralian man who acted as body­guard for Libyan dic­ta­tor Moam­mar Gad­hafi’s son Saadi has been or­dered de­ported from Canada.

The Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Board or­dered the de­por­ta­tion of Gary Peters at a hear­ing in Toronto Tues­day, rul­ing the se­cu­rity ser­vices he pro­vided to Gad­hafi dur­ing the 2011 Libyan upris­ing made him com­plicit in the crimes of the regime.

Dur­ing the time that Peters was paid tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to make sure no harm came to Gad­hafi, the government car­ried out “ex­ten­sive” at­tacks on civil­ians, IRB Mem­ber Ali­cia Seifert said in her de­ci­sion.

Seifert said that, as Gad­hafi’s per­sonal body­guard, Peters was ef­fec­tively a “mem­ber of the government ap­pa­ra­tus” and is there­fore cul­pa­ble for the atroc­i­ties the regime com­mit­ted as it tried to sup­press the Libyan re­volt.

She also ruled Peters had com­mit­ted a transna­tional crime when he helped Gad­hafi es­cape to Niger as Tripoli was fall­ing to rebel forces. At the time, Gad­hafi was the sub­ject of a United Na­tions travel ban.

The rul­ing means Peters could be de­ported in as lit­tle as two weeks un­less he ap­peals the de­ci­sion to the Fed­eral Court. Out­side the hear­ing room, he said he in­tended to ap­peal.

“Ev­ery­thing I have is here and I still be­lieve I’ve bro­ken no laws at all,” he said.

Peters, 49, who runs a pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pany in Cam­bridge, Ont., first met Gad­hafi in 2000 at the Syd­ney Olympics. Later, he guarded Gad­hafi in Canada.

Af­ter the out­break of vi­o­lence in Libya two years ago, he was sum­moned to Tripoli by the dic­ta­tor’s son. “Gary, I need you … I’m in trou­ble. S,” read an email he re­ceived from Gad­hafi on Feb. 25, 2011, ac­cord­ing to an RCMP af­fi­davit.

Dur­ing a half-dozen trips to Libya that year, Peters pro­vided close pro­tec­tion to Gad­hafi as he rep­re­sented his fa­ther at pub­lic ral­lies and at­tended meet­ings with se­nior mem­bers of the regime, Kris­ten Smyth of the Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency al­leged at a Jan. 16 hear­ing.

At a rally in Beng­hazi, Gad­hafi al­legedly or­dered se­cu­rity forces to open fire on an­tiregime pro­test­ers but Peters de­nied that and said the de­ci­sion was made by Ab­dul­lah Al-Senussi, then the Libyan mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence chief.

In July 2011, Peters made an­other con­tro­ver­sial trip to Libya, this one funded by Mon­treal-based en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion gi­ant SNCLavalin, whose vice-pres­i­dent Ri­adh Ben Aissa had nur­tured close ties with Gad­hafi.

In his tes­ti­mony to the IRB, Peters said while he had worked for Gad­hafi, he had not wit­nessed or played a role in any atroc­i­ties. He said he only helped the dic­ta­tor’s son flee the coun­try be­cause his life was in dan­ger.

DAR­REN CAL­ABRESE/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Gary Peters, former body­guard of Saadi Gad­hafi, has been or­dered de­ported by the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Board, which found him com­plicit in crimes against hu­man­ity.

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