Saif al-Islam Gaddafi 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ammar El-Darwish/Reuters)
LONDON – Following the capture of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi last week in Libya, a
student group has again issued a call for the London School of Economics (LSE)
to strip him of the doctorate he received in 2008.
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Student Rights, a
London-based organization tackling extremism on campus, said this week that the
university owes it to its students, staff, donors and the British public to
revoke the degree awarded to the man accused of crimes against
The organization first began its campaign in April after it
exposed links between the university and Saif’s father, slain Libyan dictator
Muammar Gaddafi. Earlier this year, Sir Howard Davis resigned as LSE director
over the university’s links with the Gaddafi regime and for accepting donations
from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development
Student Rights petitioned to have LSE redirect the £1.5
million it received in 2009 from the Gaddafi Foundation, of which Saif al-Islam
was chairman. Following an outcry and media attention, the university put the
money into a scholarship fund for North African students.
his PhD from LSE’s Center for the Study of Global Governance in 2008.
University of London is currently investigating claims that Saif plagiarized his
thesis, “The role of civil society in the democratization of global governance
institutions: from ‘soft power’ to collective decision-making?” He allegedly
used large sections of text copied from sources with little or no attribution.
The Independent newspaper said in March that Saif “enlisted Libyan academics to
help ghost-write his thesis” and such assistance was rewarded with diplomatic
Student Rights said that Saif has no right to maintain his
academic credential in light of his deep involvement with a tyrannical regime
and the brutal crackdown on democratic protests. The organization said it is a
great disservice both to the LSE and to academic integrity to allow him to
retain his doctorate degree.
Raheem Kassam, director of Student Rights,
said “the fact that the LSE have yet to strip Saif Gaddafi of his PhD when he is
being investigated for crimes against humanity is unconscionable.
accusations of plagiarism, the implication of academic corruption and the
evidence of his recent brutality, the LSE must act now or admit that they are
guilty of an horrific abdication of moral responsibility,” he said.