A 3rd of August 2015 update from the Authors: This is Mohamed Al-Hawni’s recently released book. Could one characterize – as attested to by the images and green cover – it is a tribute to Saif Gaddafi? A review is available in Arabic.
The following excerpts are from The Accomplice published in Vanity Fair on 22nd of August 2011. Written by Philippe Sands, the prominent Barrister from Matrix Chambers, he is one of the lawyers representing Libya before the International Criminal Court in their attempts to keep Saif Gaddafi and Abdullah Sennusi in Libya. Reference to this article came to us from a Libyan site, but the article was written after interviews with the actors adjacent to Saif Gaddafi and/or his case. Philippe Sands wrote this prior to representing Libya.
Well written and organized, this article was broken into four sections; THE SON, THE PROFESSOR, THE MENTOR and THE PROSECUTOR. The Son was Saif al-Islam Qaddafi. The Professor was Saif’s London School of Economics LSE professor who was described as a “friend, colleague, and academic adviser,” and “David Held, a prominent professor of political science at L.S.E. for many years.” The Prosecutor was “Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the I.C.C.’s chief prosecutor” whose mandate was “investigation of the Libyan atrocities—which is limited to the period starting in February 2011 and afterward—Moreno-Ocampo sent teams to 10 countries and conducted dozens of interviews.” Mr. Occampo’s investigations led to the ICC arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, Abdullah Senussi and Saif Gaddafi. For this op/ed discussion, our interest is The Mentor.
The Mentor’s Suitability to participate in the UNSMIL Unity Government Talks
The relevance to this discussion is that NOT ONLY was Mohamed Al-Hawni Saif Gaddafi’s mentor/closest friend/confidant for 11 years or that he professed such closeness to the former regime, emotionally, professionally and financially, but further revelations indicate his questionable participation within the revolution. After reviewing this information, the Libyan citizenry must decide if this gentleman is still qualified to represent them by participating in the UNSMIL unity government talks. We reveal that Mohamed Al-Hawni by HIS OWN ADMISSION seems to have ADVOCATED VIOLENCE against the protestors on morning of the 18th February 2011 – AFTER the revolution started – in statement that could be investigated as a war crime. As quoted by Philippe Sands QC in Vanity Fair about the 18th of February 2011 – speaking to Abdullah Senussi, Mohamed Al- Hawni, “said, ‘Abdullah, please, if it’s necessary to shoot, don’t shoot in the head. These persons, they have legs.’” We offer Philippe Sands’ first-person excerpt:
At the time, al-Hawni was in Geneva. Saif was in Tripoli. Saif called him on February 16: “There’s a problem. It’s better if you come.” Al-Hawni flew to Tripoli the next day. From the airport he went directly to Saif’s house, in the village of Reghatta, about 10 miles from Tripoli. Arriving at about five p.m., he was told that Saif was upstairs, tired, listless. “I go to the bedroom, straight in, he’s lying on the bed, and he says to me, ‘Tonight I don’t sleep. I want one hour and a half, and then come to me.’”
A couple of hours later Saif came down. He and al-Hawni talked until the early hours of the morning about the protests, the Benghazi killings, and the role played in the killings by his family, in particular by Abdullah al-Senussi, his uncle, who was in Benghazi, in charge of the violent quelling of protests. Al-Hawni asked Saif to call Senussi, to tell him to abandon Benghazi, stop the killing, come back to Tripoli. Saif refused to make the call. So al-Hawni himself called, but seeing an unfamiliar number, Senussi wouldn’t answer.
Al-Hawni described what happened next: “I take the telephone of Saif, and I call Abdullah Senussi, and he picks up. I say, ‘I am with Saif, and I heard that you shot protesters.’ ‘Yes,’ he says to me. ‘What can I do? They want to come inside the barracks, to take arms.’ I said, ‘Abdullah, please, if it’s necessary to shoot, don’t shoot in the head. These persons, they have legs.’”
“I said, ‘Abdullah, please, if it’s necessary to shoot, don’t shoot in the head. These persons, they have legs.’” It seems Mr. Al-Hawni is oblivious to the fact that death could result from a bullet wound to the femur; rather it seems that his casual mention of the incident is that Mr. Al-Hawni actually believes he is doing a good service to the Libyan people. Shoot them in the leg, not the head. As if crippling OR the much slower death of bleeding out is a service to the Libyan people.
This comment with his declared ties to the regime led us to ponder the suitability of Mr. Al-Hawni’s further participation in the UNSMIL unity government talks… and thus is the reason for our compilation of Philippe Sands’ excerpts. We selected just a few of pertinence but suggest the entire read of Philippe Sands’ enlightening article.
This excerpt begins the Mohamed Al-Hawni’s section of article and details his close personal, professional and business/financial ties to the regime. Just a few quotes: “For 11 years, until the morning of February 21, al-Hawni, 66, was Saif Qaddafi’s closest friend and confidant” AND “Al-Hawni is deeply knowledgeable about events in Libya, having close business ties that have depended upon connections inside the regime.” The excerpts:
III. The Mentor
That different speech, I later learned, was the work of a man named Mohammed al-Hawni. For 11 years, until the morning of February 21, al-Hawni, 66, was Saif Qaddafi’s closest friend and confidant. Tall and well built, he went to law school in Tripoli, became a state prosecutor, and left Libya in the mid-1970s to pursue a doctorate in criminal procedure at the University of Rome. He has been in Rome ever since, pursuing business interests. Since the Libyan crisis began, he has been living in Abu Dhabi, apparently fearful of the risk of remaining in Rome, where I met him and his son, who served as an occasional translator. Al-Hawni is deeply knowledgeable about events in Libya, having close business ties that have depended upon connections inside the regime. His description of his own actions on the night of the speech must be seen in that light. But as he smoked his pipe and occasionally struggled to recall details in response to questions, his statements bore a ring of truth.
Al-Hawni came to know Saif in 2000. “I liked him straightaway. He’s smart and he has curiosity.” Saif also felt a rapport, and al-Hawni became something of a father figure, while also giving Saif social and intellectual credibility and opening doors in Europe to the likes of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, one of Blair’s closest advisers and a Cabinet colleague. Saif’s cell phone, if it is ever taken in evidence, would yield phone numbers that might cause deep embarrassment. Al-Hawni believes Saif was happiest when making deals—the boy who pulls off the release of hostages and prisoners, including German, French, and South African hostages in the Philippines in 2000 and two Austrian tourists kidnapped in Tunisia by a group known as “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” in early 2008. The release of al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, was an emblematic moment, allowing Saif to show his father he could deliver on something big. READ MORE…
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