Liberty’s Director and the LSE

Posted by Shami Chakrabarti on 11 March 2011

Over the past week, a number of false allegations have been made about my role at the London School of Economics. These come from predictable directions and have been made in the context of the wider controversy over the school’s dealings with Libya.

Whilst there are legitimate concerns to be examined about these dealings, I think it is important to correct inaccuracies designed to undermine Liberty and the cause of human rights more generally. In the light of this and notwithstanding the inquiry which Lord Woolf of Barnes is conducting at the request of the LSE Council, I want to set out a few factual corrections to some of the unchecked and untrue allegations that have been made:

I am a former student of the LSE and a member of the LSE Council. This is a non-executive and completely unpaid voluntary role. My only paid employment and remuneration comes from Liberty.  I regret that I was not able to attend the 2009 Council meeting which approved a donation to the school from Saif Gaddafi's Foundation and therefore only subsequently raised concerns about links with Mr Gaddafi given his father's appalling regime. However, I have no reason to believe that the decision in question resulted from anything other than a naive assessment, made in good faith, of the democratic reforming ambitions of the dictator’s son. As for the LSE’s role in providing training to Libyans, this decision was not made by the Council. I became aware of the programme at a meeting of the Council on 1 March 2011 after events in Libya had erupted.