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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saif Gaddafi's Trial

In 2008 Saif Gaddafi was awarded a PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE), even though it was later claimed that his doctoral thesis was plagerised.  Soon after he gave the LSE a 1.5 million pound donation.

He rubbed shoulders with elite international society, especially in London and helped repair the reputation of Libya for a while by way of a personal charitable foundation.  But when the chips were down, he chose to fight his father's enemies "until the last bullet."

His life of privilege came to an end last November when he was captured in the desert with a handful of friends, trying to escape over the border into Niger.  The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted him for his crimes against humanity and announced that he would be tried at The Hague.

But the militia who are currently holding him in the Zintan region of Libya are refusing to hand him over - not to the ICC and not to the Libyan government.  They want him tried on Libyan soil and they believe he will escape if they send him to Tripoli.

So a deal is being negotiated that could see him tried in Libya, but with the security and supervision of the international court.  The ICC said they could accept a death sentence if the trial was fair and transparent with an adequate appeal system in place.

The trial of Saif could prove embarrassing for influential British figures, including Prince Andrew and Tony Blair.  The prince was a regular visitor to Tripoli as a trade ambassador and played host to Saif at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Gaddafi's favourite son also has good friends in Australia, namely Tarek (Tony) Kazal.  Mr Kazal is one of eight brothers who own some of the NSW government's most prestigious heritage buildings in The Rocks and several shops and apartments in "The Toaster" at Circular Quay.   They have been known to court our politicians, arranging lavish trips or upgrades for state MPs and hosting intimate fundraisers attended by Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd in 2008 and 2009.

Mustafa Zarti, Director-General of the Libyan Investment Authority's general investment fund, confirmed that they offered the Kazals a "fundraising facility with a drawndown limit of $A25.5 million."  The letter was sent to the Kazals' office in The Toaster but it's not clear if the loan was ever executed.

The ICC was set up in 2002 and had its first successful conviction last month when Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga was found guilty of recruiting child soldiers.  Now every effort is being made to ensure that Saif Gaddafi receives a fair trial.