Unsolved Murders

Ali Mehmed Abuzeid

Age: 54

Sex: male

Date: 26 Nov 1995

Place: Westbourne Grove, West London

Ali Mehmed Abuzeid was stabbed to death in the back of his shop.

He was a grocer, having come to the United Kingdom from Libya after suffering from political persecution under Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

He was found dead in his shop, Quick Pick Foods, on the Sunday 26 November 1995 a short time before 9am by a relative. The relative had been called by a worker at the shop who, having arrived at the shop, had found the place in darkness although with the door was open. Instead of going inside, he called Ali Abuzeid's family who then sent along Ali Abuzeid's 22-year old daughter to investigate. When she arrived, she found Ali Abuzeid dead in the shop in a pool of blood. She said that his face had been mutilated and that skewers had been put in his face. He had been killed by a single stab wound to the chest and had had his face mutilated.

Nothing in the shop had been stolen.

The knife was thought to have been left behind at the scene but the police initially said that they were unsure because the knife, described as a long knife could have come from the butcher's shop which Ali Abuzeid's shop included.

It was thought that he might have been stabbed because of his political beliefs, but the police said that his murder had been carried out in a relatively unprofessional manner and doubted that it was the result of a professional hit. However, it was later claimed that the police had not wanted to admit that it was a political murder or that political murders happened in London, although it was reported that in 2011, MI5 agents admitted that it was.

It was heard that opponents to the political leader of Libya at the time, Colonel Gaddafi, thought that Ali Abuzeid's murder was certainly carried out by Libyan agents. It was also known that Ali Abuzeid had plotted to depose of Colonel Gaddafi and that whilst in London in 1981 after fleeing Libya, he had been a founding member of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, the official opposition group to Colonel Gaddafi's regime and was a key opponent to the regime himself. After taking part in the failed coup against Colonel Gaddafi's regime in 1984 he came to London from Tunis where he had moved in 1983 and was later named by Colonel Gaddafi as one of the stray dogs in exile overseas who needed to be hunted down and eliminated. It was also reported that he had been officially sentenced to death by Colonel Gaddafi following the coup.

It was noted that several of Ali Abuzeid's friends were hanged in Libya after the 1984 coup failed.

Shortly after his murder, police in Rome said that they thought that he had been murdered because he had helped the Italian authorities  to smash a ring of British companies that were smuggling arms into Libya and breaking the United Nations arms embargo against Tripoli. It was reported that it was thought that Ali Abuzeid had given police in Genoa and Turin information that allowed them to seize more than 10-tons of spares for NATO fighter and transport aircraft worth millions of pounds that were being sent to Tripoli  with the help of Canadian, American and German companies that were working around the sanctions placed on Libya at the time. The Italian police said that all of the companies involved were appointed NATO suppliers and said that they had impounded a container of spares for C130 military transport aircraft and other aircraft whcih it was said were desperately needed for Libya's six troop-carrying aircraft which it relied upon to move soldiers quickly around the country in the event of any attempted coups by dissidents.

His neighbours said that Ali Abuzeid had said that he had previously had threats made against him.

In June 2000, British anti-terrorist police went to Libya to question a suspect in Ali Abuzeid's murder, a man, but there were no developments.

The Guardian newspaper in which Ali Abuzeid's daughter is interviewed in an article notes that shortly after Ali Abuzeid's murder, a Libyan intelligence officer was deported from the United Kingdom for intimidating British citizens before he could be questioned and that it was later questioned whether special forces had influenced the investigation. It was also later reported in 2000 that British security services had tried to recruit the Libyan intelligence officer as a double agent. It was then later reported that in 2010 the Libyan intelligence officer had returned to the United Kingdom in 2007 as a private citizen and not questioned over the murder and that he had then later died in 2010. The article questioned why the murder of Ali Abuzeid did not have the same political profile as the Lockerbie bombing or the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher, which were both connected with Libya and Colonel Gaddafi's regime and had both been pursued for years by the British government.

The Mirror newspaper reported in 2011 that MI5 officials admitted that Ali Abuzeid's murder was ordered by the Libyan government.

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