Former Gadhafi guard to be deported
Board finds him complicit in crimes
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.
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.