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Canadian woman jailed in Gaddafi plot accuses Mexico of torture

Cyndy Vanier in prison 80 days charged in bizarre Gaddafi plot.

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Cyndy Vanier was arrested Nov. 9 in Mexico for what authorities say was a plot to bring Saadi Gaddafi into Mexico. The 52-year-old Canadian woman says she was simply looking for a vacation home. (CBC/Screengrab)

Authorities charged a Canadian woman today in connection with a plot to smuggle Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi, out of Africa and into Mexico after the Libyan dictator’s death, CBC reported.

Cyndy Vanier, who has been in a Mexican prison for 80 days, is one of four people authorities claim are tied to stolen passports and two attempts to fly Saadi out of Libya. Vanier shot back earlier, saying she's been denied human rights and is the victim of torture. Police arrested her Nov. 9, and it wasn't until today she was officially charged.

 “I was confused and scared,” Vanier wrote in a six-page report obtained by CBC. “My friend Gabby (co-accused Gabriela Davila Huerta) asked them what this was about as I do not speak Spanish. I thought I was being kidnapped. They demanded that I go with them to the police station for questioning.”

Vanier, a 52-year-old mediator from Ontario, was in Libya last July working for Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

She was investigating water purification projects for her employer.

Vanier denied any connection to the conspiracy and said she was shopping for real estate when Mexican police surrounded her car and arrested her.

“They kept me there for several hours … and started asking me questions about my work, my trip to Libya in July and who I was and accused me of being a terrorist,” Vanier’s letter said.

Authorities say Vanier, Huerta, Pierre Christian Flensborg of Denmark and Mexican Jose Luis Kennedy Prieto attempted to buy forged documents and real estate to bring Saadi Gaddafi into Mexico.

More from GlobalPost: Gaddafi’s son tried to make it to Mexico

During her arrest, Vanier said she tried to call out to Huerta, but was struck in the lower back by a Mexican officer, causing her to urinate blood. She also claims she was denied access to a lawyer and was unable to contact Canadian officials.

Vanier’s family said she’s still awaiting formal charges, and will be transferred to another prison for 10 days before a judge decides if the four co-accused are to be charged.

Mexico’s preventative arrest laws allow authorities to hold suspects as they investigate crimes.

“I tried to tell the doctor at the Camerones that I was in trouble with the kidney … they ignored me and just put me into the cell … I thought I was going to die in there,” Vanier’s letter said, CBC reported.

Vanier came under suspicion because she was protected by a former Gaddafi bodyguard during her trip to Libya, Sun Media said.

"I have suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse and trauma, and my rights as a Canadian citizen have been violated based on my international human rights as well as the Mexican constitution," she wrote, Sun Media said.

The plot stretched into Hollywood territory, according to the Associated Press.

The plotters chartered airplanes to fly to Mexico, Kosovo, Tunis and Libya, Assistant Attorney General Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas told the AP.

They also bought luxury homes in Mexico, according to the prosecutors.

More from GlobalPost: Libya promises fair trial for Gaddafi’s son

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/120201/Canadian-jailed-gaddafi-plot-accuses-mexico-torture