Cambridge man who guarded Gadhafi’s son to be deported

TORONTO — A Cambridge man who was a bodyguard to the son of the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi will be deported to his native Australia, the Immigration and Refugee Board ruled Tuesday.

Gary Peters, 49, a permanent Canadian resident, is alleged to have been “closely associated” with the Gadhafi family and other high-ranking members as the now-defeated regime brutalized its own citizens during the Libyan civil war in 2011, said Kristen Smyth, a lawyer representing the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Immigration and Refugee Board ruled that Peters must be removed from Canada because of his complicity in war crimes, and human smuggling.

Peters worked as a bodyguard for al-Saadi Gadhafi, who was a professional soccer player known for his playboy lifestyle and run-ins with European police.

Peters told The Record in February 2012 that he helped get al-Saadi Gadhafi out of Libya and into Niger in the summer of 2011. He also said he suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder during a firefight he was involved in as the Gadhafi regime disintegrated.

Al-Saadi has been living in Niger since leaving Libya.

Peters, who represented himself at the board hearings, called the deportation decision disappointing and unfair.

He has long-insisted he was just doing his job and that he’s done nothing wrong.

“I thought the allegations of the regime atrocities and that I was complicit or knew of them was unfair,” Peters told The Canadian Press. “I still and always will maintain that I broke no laws.”

Peters added that while he assisted in getting his employer out of Libya, he did not organize the removal, nor did he see Gadhafi over the border to Niger. Consequently, Peters said the human smuggling allegation against him should not stand.

“I’m very disappointed with the decision.”

Peters has 15 days to apply for leave for judicial review at Federal Court, something he said he plans to do.

Peters has run a security firm, Can/Aust. Security and Investigations International, based in Cambridge, for at least 10 years.

Peters has told The Record he served in the Australian Army for 14 years, including a stint in Afghanistan where he says he was wounded. The Australian military says it has no record of his service.

Peters has 15 days to apply for leave for judicial review at Federal Court, something he says he plans to do.

A former associate of his, Cynthia Vanier, a mediator originally of Mount Forest, is facing charges in Mexico for allegedly trying to smuggle al-Saadi Gadhafi into that country — charges she has denied.

Peters provided security services to Vanier during a fact-finding mission in Libya with Canadian firm SNC Lavalin, which had construction projects in the country.

The two parted ways in September 2011 and he said he only heard later she’d been arrested.

cherhalt@therecord.com

With files from The Canadian Press