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Entries in Saadi Gadhafi (5)

Friday
Dec092011

No Mexican Beach Vacation for Gadhafi Son: Lawyer

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The lawyer for one of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's sons told ABC News Friday that his client "vigorously denies" ever attempting to use forged documents to escape to a life of luxury on a Mexican beach, as Mexican officials claimed earlier this week, but did not deny that Saadi Gadhafi might have sought refuge in foreign countries before his escape to Niger.

"Given Saadi Gadhafi's prominence," said Nick Kaufman, Saadi's attorney, "there is absolutely no logic to his seeking illegal refuge in a coastal resort frequented by film stars and other celebrities where his presence would be immediately discovered by the authorities."

But after "absolutely denying" that Gadhafi's son had committed any crime, Kaufman said, "It is hard to fault him for fleeing a country where his life was in grave danger and he would undoubtedly have met the same fate as befell his father and brother. Any person in his situation would seek refuge in any country willing to offer him a safe haven." Moamar Gadhafi died of multiple bullet wounds soon after his capture by rebel forces on Oct. 20. Saadi Gadhafi, 38, fled to Niger in September. Kaufman said his client had written to the president of Niger Thursday to thank him "for recognizing his humanitarian plight," and emphasized that Saadi was observing the restrictions placed on him by the government of Niger.

A top Mexican official said Wednesday that Saadi had planned to slip secretly into Mexico, but that the plot was foiled by Mexican intelligence agents.

The alleged plan to bring Saadi Gadhafi and his family into Mexico, dubbed "Operation Huesped," meaning "Guest," was revealed by Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire at a news conference. The elaborate scheme involved the use of false Mexican identities, several safe houses and a criminal gang that included a Mexican residing in the U.S., a Canadian and a Dane, Poire said.

The conspirators, according to Poire, used "large economic resources" to fly into Mexico to open bank accounts and procure potential safe houses ahead of Saadi's arrival. Gadhafi allegedly planned to live in Punta Mita, a village on the Pacific coast just north of Puerto Vallarta studded with five-star resorts and golf courses.

Four suspects are being held in connection to the plot for allegedly falsifying documents, among other charges, and an investigation is still ongoing, Poire said.

Saadi is one of the Gadhafi sons, along with Saif al-Arab and Hannibal, described as "ne'er-do-wells" in a 2009 U.S. State Department cable released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

"Hannibal and Saadi both have checkered histories of unseemly behavior and public scuffles with authorities in Europe and elsewhere," one cable said.

Saadi played professional soccer in Libya but was never able to make his mark in the far-more competitive Italian football leagues, cycling through three teams between 2004 and 2007 and only appearing in games twice. He reportedly failed a drug test at Perugia and played all of ten minutes for Udinese.

In February, as a popular uprising gained strength and international pressure on Libya increased, Saadi joked in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour that he was worried about not being able to go on safari, but called the rising Arab Spring an unstoppable "earthquake."

Saadi was reportedly captured by rebels in August, but later the rebel Libyan ambassador to Washington, Ali Suleiman Aujali, told ABC News that the rebels never claimed they had Al-Saadi in custody.

Though two of Saadi's siblings were reportedly killed in the fighting in Libya, his sister Aisha and brothers Hannibal and Muhammad managed to escape to Algeria in August. Saif al-Islam, one of the most high-profile Gadhafi children and the one U.S. officials saw as a possible heir to the dictatorship, was captured by rebel forces in southern Libya last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec072011

Gadhafi Son Tried to Sneak Into Mexico: Official

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of Moammar Gadhafi's sons planned to slip secretly into Mexico shortly after his escape from Libya, but the international plot was thwarted by Mexican intelligence agents, a top Mexican government official said Wednesday.

The alleged plan to bring Saadi Gadhafi and his family into Mexico, dubbed "Operation Huesped," meaning "Guest," was revealed by Mexican Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire at a news conference. The elaborate scheme involved the use of false Mexican identities, several safe houses and a criminal gang that included a Mexican residing in the U.S., a Canadian and a Dane, Poire said.

The conspirators, according to Poire, used, "large economic resources" to fly into Mexico to open bank accounts and procure potential safe houses ahead of Saadi's arrival. But though Saadi did manage to escape Libya for neighboring Niger in September, he never made the trip across the Atlantic Ocean and is believed to still be in Niger.

Four suspects are being held in connection to the plot for allegedly falsifying documents, among other charges, and an investigation is still ongoing, Poire said.

Saadi is one of the Gadhafi sons, along with Saif al-Arab and Hannibal, described as "ne'er-do-wells" in a 2009 U.S. State Department cable released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

"Hannibal and Saadi both have checkered histories of unseemly behavior and public scuffles with authorities in Europe and elsewhere," one cable said.

Saadi played professional soccer in Libya but was never able to make his mark in the far-more competitive Italian football leagues, cycling through three teams between 2004 and 2007 and only appearing in games twice. He reportedly failed a drug test at Perugia and played all of ten minutes for Udinese.

In February, as a popular uprising gained strength and international pressure on Libya increased, Saadi joked in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour that he was worried about not being able to go on safari, but called the rising Arab Spring an unstoppable "earthquake."

Saadi was reportedly captured by rebels in August, but later the rebel Libyan ambassador to Washington, Ali Suleiman Aujali, told ABC News that the rebels never claimed they had Al-Saadi in custody.

Though two of Saadi's siblings were killed in the fighting in Libya, his sister Aisha and brothers Hannibal and Muhammad managed to escape to Algeria in August. Saif al-Islam, one of the most high-profile Gadhafi children and the one U.S. officials saw as a possible heir to the dictatorship, was captured by rebel forces in southern Libya last month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

Gadhafi's Heirs: Dead Dictator's Sons Speak Out

ABC News(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Just one of Moammar Gadhafi's eight children is still unaccounted for following the Libyan dictator's death last week, and although he is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court, Libya's former heir apparent is still trying to reclaim his father's glory.

Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, the London-educated son who was to succeed his father and carry on the dynasty, is possibly still at large.  Libya's interim government had said he was captured this weekend, but at the very same time the 39-year-old appeared on Syrian television.

"We continue our resistance.  I'm in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge," Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi was heard saying on Syrian TV.  "I say go to hell, you rats and NATO behind you.  This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle."

The short message was broadcast on Syrian TV station Al-Rai on Sunday and was soon uploaded by several users onto YouTube.  It's not clear if the audio-only message was broadcast live or was a recording.  The Al-Rai station broadcasts into Libya, and in the past has broadcast messages from Moammar Gadhafi.

As the hunt for Saif intensifies, his brother Saadi Gadhafi, who escaped the country in September as rebel forces began to close in, has publicly lashed out about the death of his father and brother.

Under house arrest in Nigeria, Saadi issued a blistering condemnation of the way his father was treated after capture.

"These barbaric executions and the grotesque abuse of the corpses make it clear that no person affiliated with the former regime will receive a fair trial in Libya," he said through his publicist.

As news and video footage of Moammar Gadhafi's death surfaced, the United Nations' High Commission for Human Rights called for an investigation into the events surrounding his death; though video seems to show him in rebel custody, he allegedly died in "crossfire" -- a claim disputed by witnesses who say the fighting was over at that point.

The fate of one of Gadhafi's other sons, Moutassim Gadhafi, is quite clear however: his body now lies with his father's on display in a meat refrigerator for all of Libya to see.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct212011

American Gadhafi Insider Speaks on Dictator's Family, Death

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Jacqueline Frazier, a 32-year-old blonde American originally from Vermont, hardly strikes you as someone occupying a slot in the inner circle of the Gadhafi family.  But for the past seven months, she watched from an insider's perch as the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi slowly unraveled.

Her connection to the Gadhafi family began when a mutual friend introduced her to one of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi Gadhafi.

Saadi Gadhafi had long been considered a playboy, even among his high-living family.  He had left Libya for Europe, where he had a brief career as a professional soccer player.  But he had recently returned to Libya with the intention of helping create new business in his home country.

"I was hired to be a liaison between incoming American companies for a project he was working on," Frazier told ABC's This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

Frazier described the first time she stepped off the plane in Tripoli as "surreal," but said she felt welcomed by the Libyan people as soon as she arrived.

As foreign investments rolled into the country, Frazier said she felt good about the future of Libya and that she was always treated well by the Gadhafis.

"As a Westerner, I didn't feel the oppression or the kind of culture of paranoia that you would as a typical Libyan," she said.  "So I saw the best parts of Libya."

The Gadhafis have been known for their family dysfunction, something that Frazier revealed she saw firsthand early on into her relationship with them.  The Gadhafi sons would vie for their father's attention, she said, and the chance to prove to him that they were good leaders and successful businessmen.

"There were times when he would favor one son, and that son would feel very confident," she said.  "Then the father would change favor and favor another son, and that created issues within the family.  It created fissures within their family."

Soon, Frazier's concerns were much bigger than Gadhafi family dynamics.  Within months of her arrival in Libya, there were the stirrings of a revolution in the east of the country.  Frazier said the Gadhafis seemed unconcerned.

The severity of the uprising became apparent to her, Frazier said, when she and Saadi Gadhafi were doing a tour of Benghazi, an eastern city that later became the base of rebel operations.

"We knew that the social networks had decided that there was going to be a February 17th day of revolution," she said.  "We were kind of waiting in anticipation of that, and I was waiting with bated breath to see what happened next."

But Frazier said as the revolution heated up, Gadhafi's world got smaller and his delusions grew.

"I think he thinks he's a deity," she said.  "I think he's very cunning, I think he's very smart, and I think he's very charismatic and very dangerous…it was also clear to me how out of touch with reality he was."

Her attempts to try and warn the family that the country -- and the world -- was turning against them, fell on deaf ears.

"I told them not only that they weren't liked, but that ultimately, they would win by playing this in a Western way," Frazier said.  "Which is not to shut down and become closed off and to not allow journalists to interview people who have voices of dissention, because they were -- in their culture, in their mind, any voice of dissention is bad.  They felt that they had to quiet everyone."

In the end, it was the Gadhafis that were silenced; the dictator was killed Thursday, and Frazier's one-time boss, Saadi Gadhafi, is under house arrest in the African nation of Niger -- a fate she had predicted.

"I'm absolutely not surprised," she said.  "There's only two ways for them to end up, and that's dead or in jail."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep132011

Gadhafi's Son Flees, Doesn't Get Too Far in Niger

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(NAIMEY, Niger) -- In what’s been taken as another sign that Moammar Gadhafi’s close circle has abandoned him, his third son, Saadi Gadhafi, has fled Libya and is in the neighboring country of Niger.

Niger’s justice minister confirmed that Saadi had crossed into Niger in a convoy of cars heading toward Niamey, the country's capital.  However, his taste of freedom was cut short.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced Monday, "We have confirmed with the government of Niger that Saadi crossed over (and) that they are either in the process or have already brought him to the capital of Naimey and intend to detain him."

Niger government officials are in contact with Libya's new rulers, the Transitional National Council, and are discussing what to do with Saadi, a businessman who is part of his father's former inner circle and a one-time commander of Libya's Special Forces.

As a signatory country of the International Criminal Court, Niger is technically required to turn over Col. Gadhafi or any of his sons to the Hague-based court for prosecution of alleged war crimes against the Libyan people.

Saadi now joins other family members who have left his father’s side -- his mother Safiya, and sister, Aisha, have found refuge in Algeria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio