GATINEAU, Quebec, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Members of Canada's Libyan community called on Ottawa to investigate if an Ontario man broke laws by helping one of Moammar Gadhafi's sons flee Libya for Niger.
"There's the quite the possibility that laws were broken internationally in this and we're really hoping that the Canadian government takes it seriously," Nada Basir of the Canadian Libyan Council told Canada's National Post newspaper.
The council was set up by Canadian Libyans after the Libyan civil war broke out to raise awareness of "the unspeakable violence being inflicted upon the Libyan people in their struggle for freedom," the group's Web site says.
Gary Peters, an Australian private security contractor living in Cambridge, Ontario, told the National Post in a report published Saturday he worked as the longtime bodyguard for Gadhafi son Saadi Gadhafi, a member of the late dictator's inner circle and reputed commander of Libya's Special Forces. He said he helped smuggle the younger Gadhafi across the border while NATO forces bombed Tripoli last month.
"Through his actions, Mr. Peters assisted the Gadhafi family in breaking international laws and may be in contravention of international law himself by potentially aiding and abetting war crimes and conducting business with the Gadhafis while U.N. sanctions were in place," the council said in a statement.
Peters, president of Can/Aus Security & Investigations International Inc., told the Post he "broke no laws, but they have to investigate, which is fine." He has not been charged with any crime.
Canada, like the United States, enacted U.N. sanctions imposing an arms embargo on Libya and freezing the assets of Gadhafi family members, including Saadi Gadhafi. But Canada lifted its sanctions, including a ban on arms sales and military and technical consultants, in September, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the Post.
The government had no immediate additional comment.
Despite the embargo, Gadhafi family members had money and paid cash for three new, bullet-proof Land Rover four-wheel-drive vehicles, Peters said.
He added Saadi Gadhafi owns property in Canada and wants to move to the country.
"But I was warned by [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] that if he comes here they'll arrest him straight away -- I don't know why," Peters told the newspaper.
"If he was a mass murderer then obviously I wouldn't work for him," Peter said. "The man's a gentleman, non-violent."
He said, by contrast, Moammar Gadhafi was "very intimidating" and "very hostile," but Saadi was a "very nice man, very educated, very nice guy. However don't piss them off -- very revengeful people."