A professional bodyguard who worked on and off for years providing protection to the “playboy” third son of Muammar Gaddafi faces deportation from Canada within days, after an immigration board found he was complicit in atrocities committed during the final days of the regime.
Repeated trips made to Libya during the 2011 uprising came back to haunt Gary Peters, who is originally from Australia, after the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board ordered him deported after finding that he was complicit in atrocities committed by the Gaddafi’s in their last day’s in power and additionally had broken international laws in helping the son, al-Saadi, escape to Niger.
As a bodyguard to al-Saadi, Mr Peters effectively became a “member of the government apparatus” in Libya as it tried to quell the rebellion, a member of the Board, Alicia Seifert, said as she delivered the ruling. She said that while Mr Peters received tens of thousands of dollars to ensure the safety of his client, the regime was committing acts of murder and torture as it struggled to hold on to power.
Mr Peters, who has two weeks to appeal before the deportation order, denies he knew of the regime’s actions. And today he expanded on his friendship with al-Saadi, a failed professional football player, to Vice magazine. Agreeing that the ‘playboy’ moniker was well-earned, he said: “Yes. He is a fun guy to be around. Not just for the money. He is very humorous. He can show you a good time – a very good time.”
According to a police affidavit, Mr Peters received an email from al-Saadi in February 2011 asking for his help as the situation in his country was starting to unravel. “Gary, I need you … I’m in trouble. S,” the message said. Mr Peters reportedly then made repeated trips to Libya to provide his services. As Tripoli was falling, he was eventually to help spirit al-Saadi into Niger, where he remains today. He was shot for his troubles and, according to his own statements, he has still not been paid for that mission.
Meanwhile another former client, Cynthia Vanier who formerly worked for a Quebec-based engineering firm, SNC Lavalin, is facing charges in Mexico that she conspired illegally to smuggle al-Saadi into that country from Niger in the wake of the Libyan revolution. Mr Peters allegedly provided security services to Ms Vanier when she travelled to Libya on fact-finding mission in July 2011.
Mr Peters, 49, runs his own company, Can/Aust Security and Investigations International in Ontario. “Everything I have is here and I still believe I’ve broken no laws at all,” he said after the Board’s ruling yesterday. He said he had been targeted purely because of his association with al-Saadi Gaddafi. “That’s a pretty lame excuse to kick somebody out of the country,” he argued.
He has specifically described as untrue descriptions of al-Saadi giving an order for protestors to be fired on while he delivered a speech on his father’s behalf to a supporters in Benghazi. The order, Peters has insisted, was given by a Libyan military intelligence chief.
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