Friday, February 25, 2011

Legally speaking

Legally speaking: "

By Swapan Dasgupta

There was something eerily predictable about the reactions to last Tuesday's Special Court verdict on the gruesome Godhra killings of February 26, 2002—the incident that triggered the equally horrible communal riots in Gujarat.

For a few days before Justice P.R. Patil delivered his 815-page judgment that led to the conviction of 31 of the 134 Muslims charged with either conspiracy or participation in the arson attack on the S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express, the less restrained section of the media had been speculating on the possible implications of a 'guilty' verdict. Would it inflame communal passions? Was justice at all possible in 'Narendra Modi's Gujarat'? The implications were obvious: the cause of communal harmony and justice would be best served if the entire case was thrown out.

If the questions were predictably tendentious—the Special Court had been set up in April 2009 on a Supreme Court directive and had no relation with the state government's administration of justice—the post-verdict reactions followed the 'activist' template. Father Cedric Prakash, an activist clergyman who runs an NGO, was quick to denounce Justice Patel's judgment as a 'miscarriage of justice'; Prashant Bhushan, who was briefly amicus curie in the Gulbarga Housing Society case, called the verdict a 'travesty of justice'; lawyer Mukul Sinha who had contested the 2007 Assembly election and lost his deposit, described the conviction of 31 people as based on 'concocted evidence' and 'falsehood'; and Teesta Setalvad, herself under scrutiny by the Special Investigation Team for allegedly presenting dodgy affidavits, debunked any 'conspiracy' to attack the train.

True, BJP's Jaynarain Vyas, the Gujarat Government spokesperson, did proffer a pugnacious reply to the sceptics. He gloated that 'the verdict comes as a slap on the face of all those so-called NGOs who were busy maligning Gujarat.' But his seemed an odd, contrarian voice amid the multiplicity of well-heeled 'activists' feigning outrage. Any citizen unaware of the backgrounds of the sceptics or the convoluted course of the inquiry and legal proceedings would be forgiven for harbouring the suspicion that the Special Court in Ahmedabad had been driven by an underlying political agenda.

It is understandable that there will be litigants and activists dissatisfied by a court verdict on the ground of either evidence or interpretation of the law. They have an inalienable right to approach a higher court for relief and, presumably, the Godhra case will go to the High Court. What is disturbing, however, is not the exercise of the right of appeal but the readiness with which any judgment with political overtones is rubbished in the public domain. Indian democracy offers litigants, activists and commentators a generous space to dissect judgments and court proceedings. Indeed, more often than not, lawyers and others tend to treat TV studios and newspapers columns as a substitute for arguments in the appellate courts.

On the face of it, this may appear to be a worthless and even self-defeating exercise since judges are expected to be swayed by arguments in the courtroom and not by spirited exchanges in TV studios. The judiciary, however, is not detached from society and judges don't live in ivory towers. Like any other citizen, they too are prone to being influenced by their immediate environment. The purpose behind activists using the media to argue points of law and evidence (without having to bother about the opposing counsel) is simple: create a climate of opinion favourable to the cause they are espousing and portray other perspectives (including court judgments) as a travesty.

In the past six months, the no-holds-barred attacks on court orders have become an epidemic. In September last year, there were the shrill denunciations of the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Ayodhya dispute, including suggestions of communal bias. Ironically, the loudest protests came from those who were in the forefront of demanding a judicial resolution of a very complex religio-political dispute that has defied resolution for centuries.

This was followed three months ago by the breast-beating that followed the conviction of Dr Binayak Sen on a sedition charge by a Sessions Court in Chhattisgarh. The spectacle was repeated some weeks ago when the Chhattisgarh High Court turned down Sen's bail application.

The Binayak Sen case is an eye-opener for all those concerned about the larger civic culture surrounding judicial proceedings. In an article written after Sen's conviction, an outraged Amartya Sen wrote that 'If the High Court has its thinking straight and unbiased it will overturn the decision.' Anything else, he argued, would imply that 'as happened in Gujarat—justice is difficult to get in the state which is under the control of a political regime that is keen on justifying its policies, some of which are very deeply problematic, rather than bringing justice to a people living in Chhattisgarh…' This was followed by an appeal signed by scores of Nobel Prize winners, with little familiarity of either India or the specific circumstances of the case, pressing for Sen's release.

Actually, it is Amartya Sen's pronouncement that is deeply problematic. If the integrity of the judiciary is made hostage to politically correct, rather than judicially tenable, judgments, India will lose its status as a democracy where the rule of law prevails.

In establishing pre-meditation, the Special Court in Ahmedabad relied on forensic evidence; the Allahabad High Court relied on archaeological evidence to suggest that a grand temple predated the Babri mosque in Ayodhya; and the Chhattisgarh Government relied on witness testimony and seizure records to suggest Binayak Sen's Maoist links. The conclusions of the judges were governed by evidence—a reason why 63 of the accused were acquitted in the Godhta case—and their refutation has to be based on technicalities, not on the strength of rhetoric.

A battle is either fought in the political arena or in the courts. The two can't happen simultaneously.

Asian Age/ Deccan Chronicle, February 25, 2011


Govt must consider Bharat Ratna for Uncle Pai

Govt must consider Bharat Ratna for Uncle Pai: "
25th Feb 2011-Making a special mention regarding the sudden demise of India's greatest story teller and creator of Amar Chitra Katha Shri Anant Pai, who was reverentially called Uncle Pai, Shri Tarun Vijay, MP and national spokesperson BJP paid rich tributes to him in Raya Sabha today and asked the government to consider his name to award him Bharat Ratna .

The text of Shri Tarun Vijay's special mention in Rajya Sabha is as below-

In the sudden death of Shri Anant Pai last night the country has lost one of the greatest story tellers and children’s dearest uncle. He was the creator of Amar Chitra Katha and Editor of Tinkle, children’s popular magazine. He instilled Indian values in the minds and hearts of new generation through marvelous depiction of India’s glorious heritage and sagas of brave Indian heroes. He was the most beloved and respected uncle of millions of children world wide. He was born in Karakala, Karnataka in 1929 and lost his parents at the age of two. At a Doordarshan quiz contest when he saw children were easily answering questions regarding Greek myths but were unable to answer who was Rama’s mother or who was Shivaji he thought of starting a comic book series devoted to Indian culture. He toured extensively all over India and addressed millions of school children from Kerala to Kashmir. He was also the creator of Partha series of video documentaries which aimed to create self confidence and moral values in the hearts and minds of little kids. An entire Indian generation belonging to every religion, caste and state owe its moral upbringing and introduction to the great past of India’s culture and civilization to the success of Amar Chitra Katha and Uncle Pai’s tireless efforts to bring India back to Indians. He wrote and produced two video films, namely Ekam Sat and The Secret of Success. He wrote books on personality development for children and teenagers. He also created audio books of Amar Chitra Katha. Several Indian leaders including Smt. Indira Gandhi, Shri Rajeev Gandhi, Shri L.K. Advani, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee deeply accepted Uncle Pai’s stories influence on them. He married Lalita ji from a great Gandhian family of Karachi. He was childless, but had a family of millions children. I request that the government should consider his name for awarding Bharat Ratna.

Shri Tarun Vijay(centre) with Shri Anant Pai and Smt. Lalita Pai

Judicial snub to crypto Islamists

Judicial snub to crypto Islamists: "

Judicial snub to crypto IslamistsRohit Srivastava24 Feb 2011

Truth has its own way of dislodging lies. Indian public life is full of blatant lies told to the common man in name of socialism, secularism, communalism and numerous other isms which are little more than jargon, intended only to confuse the masses. Obvious facts are d...

The Zero PM: Indian voters rapidly losing faith in Manmohan Singh
Ramtanu Maitra
24 Feb 2011

Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on 16 February that he is not a “lame-duck prime minister” will go down in history as one of the most ironic from the head of state of a major nation since 1973, when US President Richard Nixon, trying to stonewall the...

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Protest: Denigration of Sri Vishnu by ''

Protest: Denigration of Sri Vishnu by '': "Again the stupid advertisement of is aired on popular TV channels. It denigrates Sri Vishnu, highly revered deity of Hindus. All Hindus should protest lawfully so that '' should stop the advertisement."

Why we must stop such Denigration of Hindu Deities?

Appeal to devout Hindus

Hindu woman paraded by Muslims in Udgir (Latur)

Hindu woman paraded by Muslims in Udgir (Latur): "A Muslim beat up a tribal woman from Vadar community and paraded her. A woman named Mrs. Ambika Itkar (age – 25 years, res. Phulenagar) had gone to collect firewood with two women on the West side of Udgir Fort where three Muslims were drinking liquor."

Protest: Denigration of Hinduism through Website ''

Protest: Denigration of Hinduism through Website '': "An website named nicknamed as Answering Hinduism has denigrated Hinduism by fabricated Cock and Bull Stories. All Hindus should protest lawfully against this website so that they should remove the defamatory articles immediately."

Muslims issue letters to Hindus for sending money to Ajmer Durgah

Muslims issue letters to Hindus for sending money to Ajmer Durgah: "Ratnagiri (Maharashtra): Haji Sayyad Khwaja Moinuddin Kadri Chishti Durgah from Ajmer, Rajasthan has sent a letter to a Hindu citizen with an appeal to send his ‘offerings’ through money order (MO)."

A married Hindu woman raped by a Muslim at Kasargaud (Kerala)

A married Hindu woman raped by a Muslim at Kasargaud (Kerala): "A case has been filed against three Muslims for clandestinely taking photograph of a married Hindu woman while she was bathing. They later, blackmailed her and raped her."

Remembering Freedom fighters - Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

V.N. Gopalakrishnan

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar popularly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar was a fearless freedom fighter, Hindu nationalist, social reformer, great orator, prolific writer, historian and philosopher. His thoughts touched upon practically every aspects of nation-building. He was a victim of hatred and misinformation and hence his thoughts and achievements in many spheres are largely unknown outside Maharashtra.

Savarkar was the first political leader who set Absolute Political Independence as India's goal and was the first to organize a revolutionary movement for independence on an international level. He was the only Indian leader whose arrest in London caused legal difficulties for the British Courts. He was also the first Indian historian whose book titled Indian War of Independence 1857 was proscribed by British authorities in India before its publication. The book inspired revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Subash Chandra Bose. He was the first political prisoner whose daring escape and arrest on French soil became a cause celebre in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Savarkar composed his first poem 'Swadeshicha phatka' at the tender age of eleven. At the age of 16, he formed a secret Patriots’ Group to fight the British. He was the first poet in the world who, deprived of pen and paper, composed his poems and then wrote them on the prison walls with thorns and nails. He memorized thousand lines of his poetry and later transmitted them to the outside world through his fellow-prisoners. Besides composing poetry in conventional meters, he introduced new meters called vainayak and also composed blank verses. He was the first to compose powadas (ballads) using modern imagery and in his efforts to purify Marathi language, he has introduced many new words. He wrote two novels Kaalepani and Malaa kaay tyache; three plays Usshaap, Sanyastakhadga and Uttarkriya; and three books on history The First Indian War of Independence-1857, Hindupadpaadshaahi and Six Glorious Epochs. Though he wrote the History of the Sikhs, it is not is available now.

Savarkar was the first Indian leader who successfully started a Ganeshotsava open to all Hindus including ex-untouchables. He commenced the inter-dining ceremonies of all Hindus and opened Patitpavan Mandir as well as a cafe to all Hindus. He was the first political prisoner in the world who was sentenced to Transportation for Life twice, a sentence unparalleled in the history of the British Empire. He was also the first leader to embrace death voluntarily through Atma Samarpan in the highest yogic tradition.

Vinayak was born to Damodarpant Savarkar and Radhabai in Bhagpur village near Nasik on May 28, 1883 into a family of jagirdars (landlords). When Vinayak was nine years old, his mother died of cholera and Damodarpant himself looked after his four children. He later joined Bal Gangadhar Tilak's Swaraj Party. He lost his father during the 1899 plague. In March 1901, he married Yamunabai, daughter of Ramchandra Triambak Chiplunkar. After marriage, he joined Fergusson College in Pune in 1902 to study further. As a student, Vinayak was involved in the Swadeshi movement. When in college, he instigated his fellowmen to boycott British goods and in 1905 he organised a bonfire of clothes made in England. In June 1906, he received a scholarship and left for London to study law. In London, he stayed at the India House established by Pandit Shyamji, a patriot and social reformer. When in London, he founded the Free India Society which celebrated major Indian festivals and landmarks of the freedom movement. He also vowed not to take up service under the British Government and never to accept payment from them. He was the first Indian law student who was not called to the English Bar despite having passed his examination and observed the necessary formalities.

In 1909, Madanlal Dhingra, an ardent follower of Savarkar shot Sir Wyllie after a failed assassination attempt on Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy. When A.M.T. Jackson, the then British Collector of Nasik, was shot by a youth, Savarkar fell under the net of the British authorities and was implicated in the murder citing his connections with India House. He was jailed and later extradited from England. On the way back to India, he made a heroic attempt to escape when the ship halted at Marseilles. He was recaptured in Paris on March 13, 1910 and brought to Mumbai and imprisoned at the Yervada jail. He was tried and sentenced to 50 years of imprisonment at the age of 27! On July 4, 1911, he was exiled to the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. There he was successful in getting permission to start a jail library and with patience and perseverance, he taught the illiterate convicts to read and write.

In 1920, many prominent freedom fighters including Vithalbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded the release of Savarkar in the Central Legislative Assembly. On May 2, 1921, he was shifted to Ratnagiri jail, and later to Yeravada jail. It was in Ratnagiri jail that he wrote the book titled Hindutva which deals with the Hindu nationalistic approach to the idea of the Indian nation and Hinduism. In January 6, 1924 he was released under stringent restrictions on his travel and activities.

On his release, Savarkar founded the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha on January 23, 1924 which was aimed at preserving India's cultural legacy and work for social welfare. He later accepted the presidency of the Hindu Mahasabha, and served for seven consecutive years. The Hindu Mahasabha, under his presidency, did not support the Quit India movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in August 1942. Through the Sabha, he worked hard to protect minority rights. During the celebration of Hindu festivals, Savarkar visited Muslim and Christian homes to promote goodwill. He also encouraged inter-caste marriages and assisted Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in his efforts to liberate the ‘untouchables’. He visited slums and engaged in social service. He called for a purification of Marathi and Hindi from Urdu influence and appealed for a wider use of Hindi. He suggested reforms to the Devanagiri script to make it easy for printing.

Savarkar's patriotic spirit found an outlet through an organization called the Mitra Mela which he formed. It served the city of Nasik in many ways, especially during the plague when the group carried victims for cremation. Later, he renamed Mitra Mela as Abhinav Bharat. He strived for pan-Hindu nation that would engulf Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, and converts from Hinduism back into its fold. He wanted to establish a Hindu Raj and bring within its boundaries Afganistan as well. He died on February 26, 1966. While many regard Savarkar as one of the greatest revolutionaries in the Indian freedom struggle, others consider him a communalist but he will be remembered as a fearless patriot.

(Author is a freelance journalist and a social activist. He can be contacted on

Civil Society will Liberate Telangana , "City by City".

Civil Society will Liberate Telangana , "City by City".: "
Telangana Freedom Fighters To Fight On Lines Of Egypt & Libya.

Indian Government approach on Telangana issue is condemnable, not just that, they are stretching it to the fag end , almost to the breaking point . Until now I have given Sonia regime a benefit of doubt for the difficulties they are having over deep Scams & Scandals that were recently unearthed. But now any blind eye or a laid back attitude towards the Telangana will lead to an big civil explosion , and Armed Forces may not able to handle it. Its after effect will be too dangerous for the civil society . I wish my Telangana to go into History as an Epic of bravery and ultimate sacrifice and certainly not as region of violence and hatred .

A serious civil unrest is prevailing among the masses in Telangana region . A small spark can give rise to big rising of Egypt - Libya kind of revolution. Civil society has now armed itself with mistrust over Central and State governments handling of things. This situation may give arise to something called “Fog of War” , in which anger , hatred , suspicion will take rounds and rounds and in turn may target either Government establishment or soft target like Seema Andhra Settlers in Hyderabad. If my nightmare comes true , then soil of Telangana will be drenched in the BLOOD of anti-Telanganites . Then name of Telangana will be recorded in History with blood. Which is uncalled for and should be avoided at any cost. Telanganites can not be blamed for any such incidents, if ever happens .

When people of Telangana watch on Television screens, the repeatedly brutal attacks of police personnel on activists, it deeply hurts, and has not well taken by the peace lovers . What we see on screens are the incidents really happening on the streets of Osmania University Campus . This 'State' brutality (Rajya Himsa) is completely unacceptable and must be resisted, if not it will have dire consequences. The repeated abuses of Armed Forces and repression by government machinery will only fuel more unrest in the region . Consequences of such State brutality on their subjects will give rise to an bigger violent retaliation. This is exactly happening in Telangana region .

People have come together with closed fists and fighting with their chest high with bravery against the Armed Forces . Osmania University is an example of such bravery , thousands of police with head gear, arm guard, leg guard, batons, fiber shields were not able to contain the might of few hundred students . Hundreds of Tear gas shells are fired daily , dozens of rubber bullets are fired daily but still the armed forces have failed to take over students bastion . This is where we should learn our lessons , the more we brutalise the society , the more will be the rage of civil society.

No doubt , a big revolution is happening on the soil of Telangana . its just matter of time and this will be recognized by World Historians too and will be credited on par with Russian- French revolution . This revolution will change the course of Indian history as well . That day is not far away in Telangana, that a mass revolution like that of Egypt & Libya will unfold . Mark my words if Telangana announcement is further delayed , masses just like Libya and Egypt will turn up and will liberate “city after city” by force .

Yesterdays Warangal meet of “Laksha Ninadalu – Laksha Nivalulu” by its citizens has given enough signals that “City after City” will be forcefully taken away and no Armed Force would able to stop it . Even Tanks on roads or Air raids can never be able to contain this civil upsurge.

I was in Warangal last week , and there was no distant hint of such a big chunk of civil society marching to one point of the city for their noble cause . Just one small call by local JAC inspired almost a Lakh to march to the centre of City and lay siege the entire place all the day . Surprisingly women came in huge number , they came with “bonalu & bathukamma” over their heads , youth came along with banners, placards and flags . It turned unto look like a sea of humanity, and with one Lakh activist chanting slogans in one voice had an echo all over the city . This was just small exhibition of their might , which may come real in true sense of revolution, and may be replicated in every city . No government machinery can stand to that kind of up rise . Further, this march of forceful liberation by natives may spread to Hyderabad from all the corners of Telangana . Then none of us can guarantee the safety of Life and Properties of Seema-Andhra settlers , who by large are labeled as coverts .

My request to Seema –Andhraites is to come out of your shell, take a stand and convince the Plutocrats to recognize the sentiments, aspirations of 4 crore native Telanganites . Now the ball is in your court . We Telanganites are peace lovers , my appeal to all the stake holders of Andhra Pradesh bifurcation is please don’t make our hands soil in your blood. We waited for last 50 years , borne all your Insults and treachery, still we treat you as our own. Even in middle of this fierceful agitation , we umpteen times have exhibited our generous heart , not one Seema-Andhra settler was hurt . We bled ourselves, We braved state brutality , We committed suicides but never felt like hurting you. Kindly acknowledge this generosity, support Telangana formation and live along with us here after in the same camaraderie .

వరంగల్ లో తెలంగాణా కోసం ఏకమైన ప్రజలు ఈజిప్ట్, లిబియ దేశాల విప్లవాని గుర్తుకు తెచ్చాయి . లక్ష మంది ఒక్కటై పిడికిలు బిగించి 'జై తెలంగాణా ' అంటూ నినాదిస్తుంటే మరో విప్లవం ఏంటో దూరం లో లేదు అని అనిపిచ్చింది. జై తెలంగాణా నినాదం మార్మోగింది , గొంతులు ఒక్కటై నినాదిస్తుంటే , రహదారులు పిక్కటిల్లాయి. నది ప్రహవం వలె జనం అమర వీరుల స్తూపం వైపు సాగాయి, వేల గొంతుకలు లక్షలుగా మారి, ఒక్క చోటికి చేరి ఉద్యమ నినాదాలు చేసాయి, అమరులైన తెలంగాణా వీరులకు నివాళులు అరిపించాయి. బుదవారం వరంగల్ లో జర్గిన ' లక్ష నినాదాలు - లక్ష నివాళులు ' కార్యక్రమం తెలంగాణా రాష్ట్ర సాధన ఆకాంక్ష ను చాటాయి . ఈ కార్యక్రమం లో నగరం లోని అన్ని వర్గాలు పాల్గొన్నాయి . నగరం నదిఒడ్డున ఉన్న అమరవీరుల స్తూపం వద్ద కు చేరుకొని బ్యానర్లు , ప్లే కార్డు లు , జెండాలు ప్రదర్శించినారు . మహిళలు బోనాలు ,బతుకమ్మ ల తో పాల్గొన్నారు , యువకులు ఆట-పాటల తో అలరించినారు . మొత్తం మీద లక్ష మంది తరలి రావడం తెలంగాణా ఉద్యమానికి కొత్త రూపు ని ఇస్తునది .

Groups demand freeze of Gaddafi assets: Switzerlan​d, Britain respond announcing freezing. Indian groups should follow the lead.

Groups demand freeze of Gaddafi assets: Switzerlan​d, Britain respond announcing freezing. Indian groups should follow the lead.: "


Groups demand freeze of Gaddafi assets: Switzerland, Britain respond announcing freezing.

Indian groups should follow the lead.

NITI (National Initiative for Transparency and Integrity) India should demand freeze of assets held abroad by Indian politically exposed persons (PEPs).

PEPs are a legally recognized category in international law, which includes specifically heads of state or governments, high-ranking politicians, high-ranking members of the administration, judiciary, armed forces or national political parties, and senior executives of state-owned corporations of national importance, or 2. natural or legal persons who are closely associated with politically exposed persons for family, personal or business reasons (close associates). See, for example, Swiss law in force from 1 Feb. 2011 about restitution of illicit assets.

A beginning can be made with the money well-documented illicit assets said have been held abroad in the name of the family of a late PM of India. Such moneys should be held within the Indian financial system for the benefit of present and future generations of Indians.


Groups Demand Freeze Of Gaddafi Assets

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Non-governmental organisations have called for the Swiss authorities to freeze the assets of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi and some of his family members.

On Monday, the Arabic Transparency Organisation launched an urgent request with the Swiss cabinet, the federal prosecutor’s office and the foreign ministry.

A lawyer representing the group said it was imperative to avoid the loss of any funds deposited in Switzerland – funds which may have been generated through the misuse of public coffers in Libya.

He said that the Swiss authorities should block any assets immediately rather than waiting for the fall of the regime in Tripoli. The lawyer has provided the cabinet with a partial list of suspects.

Another process was also launched on Monday afternoon. In conjunction with the Libyan Human Rights Solidarity, the Geneva-based Right for All group filed a criminal complaint with the foreign ministry.

It calls for the assets of the Gaddafi clan to be blocked and requests that the matter be referred to the international criminal authorities.

The Swiss government has stated that it is monitoring the unrest in Libya, Bahrain and other countries in the region. However, it has not decided whether or not to freeze assets.

Earlier this month, Switzerland blocked the accounts of the deposed presidents of Egypt and Tunisia.

The foreign ministry said on Monday that several dozens of millions of francs had been frozen as a result.

25 FEB, 2011, 01.14PM IST,PTI

Switzerland freezes Gaddafi’s assets: Ministry

BERLIN: The Swiss government has frozen all assets of a bellicose Muammar Gaddafi and his associates with immediate effect to prevent misappropriation while the autocratic regime is still in office in Libya.

A government order issued last evening blocked the assets of Gaddafi and 28 other members of his clan, including his wife Safia al-Barrasi, his sons and his only daughter Aisha as well as several relatives and leaders.

“In view of the developments, the Federal Council has decided to block with immediate effect any possible assets of Muammer Gaddafi and his entourage in Switzerland,” the Swiss foreign ministry said in a statement.

In the past weeks, the Swiss government had frozen the assets of the ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, but only after they were swept out of office by the popular uprisings against their regimes.

The Swiss government has been following with great concern the use of force against anti-government demonstrators by Gaddafi’s regime and the civil war-like situation, which in the last few days claimed hundreds of lives and caused injuries to numerous other people, the statement said.

The government condemns in sharpest terms the Libyan regime’s use of force against the country’s population to suppress their demands for a democratic change, it said.

The statement said freezing of the Libyan assets is a precautionary measure to protect them from the “risk of misappropriation” by the regime.

The government’s decision bans with immediate effect the sale or any kind of transfer of Gaddafi assets, including properties, for a period of three years.

Media reports said huge assets of the Gaddafi clans are not expected in Switzerland because billions of dollars of Libyan funds deposited in the Swiss banks were already transferred in the wake of a diplomatic crisis between the two countries following the arrest of Gaddafi’s son Hannibal in Geneva in July 2008.

According to the estimates of the Swiss National Bank, Libyan deposits in the Swiss banks shrank from 5.7 billion francs to 630 million francs as a result of the transfer. It is still unclear how much wealth belongs to the Gaddafi clan, the reports said.

Switzerland Freezes Assets of Qaddafi, Regime Officials for Three Years

By Jennifer M. Freedman and Leigh Baldwin – Feb 24, 2011Switzerland froze the assets of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and his entourage for three years to avoid the possible “misappropriation” of the funds.

The freeze takes effect immediately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The move comes less than two weeks after the government froze funds and assets in Switzerland belonging to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his circle.

“The Cabinet sharply condemns the use of force by Libyan rulers against the population,” the ministry said in an e- mailed statement from Bern today. “In view of the developments, the Cabinet decided to block any possible assets of Muammar Qaddafi and his circle in Switzerland with immediate effect.”

The four-paragraph text didn’t specify the value of Qaddafi assets that are in Switzerland. The assets of Qaddafi and 26 other people, including his sons, have been frozen. It’s the first time Switzerland has frozen the assets of a leader who is still in power.

The Libyan leader, who has lost control of much of his country’s oil-rich east, appealed to citizens to end violence as his forces stepped up a crackdown on opponents and more than 100 people were reportedly shot dead.

The Swiss government has imposed similar freezes on assets held by former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Ivory Coast leaderLaurent Gbagbo. On Feb. 2, the government began a procedure to formally confiscate the Swiss assets of former Haitian ruler Jean-Claude Duvalier that have been frozen since 1986.

Monitoring Situation

“The process in this case is exactly the same as with Ben Ali and Mubarak,” Andre Simonazzi, a Federal Council spokesman, said by telephone today. He said the government has condemned the violence in Libya and continues to monitor the situation. He wouldn’t say whether further measures are being considered.

An estimated 27 percent of the world’s privately held offshore wealth is managed in Switzerland, which has tightened money-laundering rules in the past years as it tries to prevent the inflow of illicit funds.

Libya is the latest regime in the region to experience a popular uprising following the toppling of governments in Tunisia and Egypt. Demonstrations have also occurred in Yemen and Bahrain, prompting Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, to make changes intended to increase living standards. King Abdullah yesterday announced at least $11 billion in spending increases on social security and housing.

To contact the reporters on this story: Leigh Baldwin in Zurich at; Jennifer M. Freedman in Geneva

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at; Angela Cullen at

Britain to seize Gaddafi’s London assets: Report

AFP, Feb 25, 2011, 08.42am IST

LONDON: Britain will shortly seize billions of pounds in assets that Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi has stored in the European country, the Telegraph newspaper reported today.

Britain’s finance department has set up a unit to trace Gaddafi’s British assets which it believes include bank accounts, commercial property and a USD 16.1 million London home, the paper said.

“The first priority is to get British nationals out of Libya,” a government source told the British daily.

“But then we are ready to move in on Gaddafi’s assets, the work is under way. This is definitely on the radar at the highest levels.”

Britain understands that Gaddafi owns around 20 billion pounds in liquid assets, mostly in London. According to the paper, these will be frozen “within days.”

The international community has rounded on the long-serving ruler after he responded to anti-regime demonstrations with a violent crackdown that has claimed hundreds of lives.