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Libya: Group Occupies London Mansion Owned by Gaddafi's Son

Squatters moved in to Saif Gaddafi's house in North London

Squatters moved in to Saif Gaddafi's house in North London by Alex Milan Tracy © Demotix (09/03/2011)

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

A London-based group is now occupying a house it says is owned by Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi, the 38-year-old second son of Muammar al Gaddafi.

In what could become a new method to repatriate stolen funds from long-serving and corrupt leaders and their families, members of Topple the Tyrants said they would occupy the eight-bedroom house in sympathy with the people of Libya and to ensure the money used for its purchase is returned to the country's treasury.

In a press release, the group said:

Our aim is to make sure that the assets stolen by Gaddafi are returned to the Libyan people and don't disappear into the pockets of governments or corporations. In the meantime we want to welcome refugees from the conflict in Libya and those fleeing tyranny and oppression across the world.”

Topple the Tyrants said they are taking matter into their own hands because they don't “trust the British government to properly seize the Gaddafi regime's corrupt assets.”

Here is a photo of the house — with members of Topple the Tyrants on its roof — uploaded to Twit Pics by nusibab.

The house, reportedly worth £10 million (about $16 million), is situated in Hampstead in north central London, home to some of the most expensive properties in the United Kingdom. According to press reports, the house also contains an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, jacuzzi and a private movie theater.

Saif earned an MBA from IMADEC University in Vienna and famously received a PHd for his dissertation on global governance institutions from the London School of Economics in 2008 (Some claim much of the dissertation was plagarized.) Saif seems to hold a tremendous amount of unofficial power within the Libyan government, being the first member of the government to speak to the public after the regime began its violent crackdown on protesters. During that speech he blamed Facebook, foreign mercenaries, Islamists, drug addicts and a poorly trained army for the violent crackdown on protesters.

Saif bought the house in 2009 and recently tried to put it up for sale, taking it off the market when anti-Gaddafi protests spread through much of the country. A spokesman for Topple the Tyrants told Agence France Presse: “When we found out one of the world's most brutal dictators owned property in north London it seemed like an obvious thing to occupy it for the people of Libya.The group complained that members of the regimes of Gaddafi, Mubarek and the Saud family use “front companies” to protect their anonymity and dodge taxes.

On the Twit Pic page hosting the photo, there were plenty of positive comments:

From Prince_Philip:

Yay for A_B..! When's the house-warming? :-))

mahjobi:

can i come and live there?

GavinLynn:

brilliant direct action from Topple the Tyrants. Shame on those who have courted the Gaddafis…

Richie_365:

If all freedom fighters did things like this western government would never house dictators #WellDone

Case_Orange:

In keeping with ancient tradition, it's entirely appropriate 2 make public privy of this house!

In a UK-based news site on the housing crash, a group of commenters had plenty to say:

Mark said:

if it is a civil matter to remove them, will they ever leave? lol

can't see gadaffi appearing in a court any time soon

icarus blamed the offshore system:

The offshore system was devised around secrecy and anonymity, and funds can be shifted so quickly that it's all but impossible to freeze and seize kleptocrats’ loot.

drewster said there may be many more houses like that.

Local councils have lists of empty houses (since they're claiming council tax discounts or exemptions). All we need now is for someone to Wikileak those lists, and we'd have a squatters’ paradise.

The Tweeps have also been documenting this issue:

@Percefal: ‘Topple The Tyrants': #Gaddafi's London home – “palatial, flatscreen TVs in almost every room. We've got them all tuned to #alJazeera now.”

@wickedfairysad: @Arabic_News well done Topple the Tyrants!

@Umm_Issa: Loving Topple the Tyrants occupying Saif al-Islam Qaddafi's £10m mansion. They said they don't trust UK govt to seize Qaddafi assets #Libya

@sunnkaa: A group called ‘Topple The Tyrants’ have occupied the £10m London mansion of Saif Al Islam Al #Gaddafi, in solidarity with the #Libyans.

@salahhaddad: Topple The Tyrants say: “We've taken it so that it will be returned to its rightful owners who are the Libyan people.” http://t.co/zAlirxL

@bintlibya: Am loving the Topple the Tyrants group! They're squatting in #Zaif $10m pound mansion in #London. #Libya

@dana_hughes: Hmm…There r tyrant-owned mansions in Nice, Malibu: AJE ‘Topple The Tyrants’ occupies London mansion of Gadhafi's son http://bit.ly/ifZLER

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

  • “zoe” z

    Okay, hope I’m not just being too impatient, but the very first thing I did was google Topple the Tyrants. Alsas, to no avail. Its standard tyarannical strategy everywhere to first seize the means of communicatuions. Only speaking & allowing noone to respond is certainly a very annoying form of that seizure. This is a common thing among poltical websites of both the left & right. realzoe@hotmail.com

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