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Written by Student Rights on 21 November 2011 at 2pm

Student Rights renew calls for Saif Gaddafi's Phd to be revoked

article-2064007-0EDD0EFE00000578-837_468x286-1Following his capture on Saturday 19th November, Student Rights has issued a renewed call for the London School of Economics (LSE) to strip Saif al-Islam Gaddafi of the doctorate awarded to him in 2008.

We first issued a public demand for this in April 2011, following our work in exposing the links between Muammar Gaddafi and the LSE and successfully petitioning for the university to redirect funds received from the Gaddafi Foundation. The Foundation had donated 1.5 million pounds to LSE's Global Governance Centre, just a year after Saif was awarded a doctorate from the very academic programme he endowed.

Earlier this year, Sir Howard Davis was left with no option but to resign as director of the LSE over the university's links with the Gaddafi regime. However, the university still owes it to its students, staff and donors including the British public, to revoke a doctorate awarded to Saif.

As Student Rights has previously noted, there is credible evidence that Saif plagiarised his doctoral thesis, "The role of civil society in the democratisation of global governance institutions: from 'soft power' to collective decision-making?"

According to The Independent, Saif "enlisted Libyan academics to help ghost-write his thesis”, and such assistance was rewarded with diplomatic posts. The thesis is under investigation by the University of London after claims of plagiarism highlighted by online campaign groups. It has been alleged by that the thesis involves large sections of text copied verbatim from sources with little or no attribution.

Yet even without such a cloud of suspicion hanging over his scholarship, Saif has no right to maintain his academic credential in light of his deep involvement with a tyrannical regime. According to leading experts, he was one of the “most influential” figures in Libya, before and during the brutal crackdown on democratic protests, and is now being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. It's a great disservice both to the LSE and to academic integrity to allow him to retain a doctorate from one of the world's leading universities.

Raheem Kassam, director at 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.

Amidst 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."