LONDON, September 1 (Itar-Tass) — The commander of the Libyan rebels in Tripoli Abdelhakim Belhadj has stated that guarantees Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saadi good treatment if he agrees to surrender to the opposition forces. He said this in an interview with Reuters.
“I spoke to him personally,” Belhadj said. “He called and revealed his intention to come on the side of the rebels (…) We told Saadi we would guarantee him decent treatment in line with the human rights, legal rights of any Libyan person.”
Saadi said on Al-Arabiya television late on Wednesday that he had initiated talks “based on ending bloodshed” and that he had his father’s authorisation. US news network CNN earlier reported that Saadi denied he planned to surrender.
On March 15 there were unconfirmed reports that a pilot by the name of Muhammad Mokhtar Osman attacked the Gaddafi stronghold of Baab Al Azizia in Tripoli damaging it and injuring Saadi and his brother Khamis al-Gaddafi.
Speaking to BBC Panorama, a Libyan soldier claimed that Saadi had personally ordered to shoot unarmed protestors in Benghazi when visiting the city’s army barracks at the beginning of the uprising. Saadi confirmed that he had been at the barracks but denied giving orders to fire on protestors.
Saadi was the driving force behind a change in the tactics of the Libyan government forces. Instead of fighting the rebels with heavy infantry, tanks and armoured cars — which could easily be distinguished from the rebels and then destroyed by allied fighter jets — the fight against the rebels was pursued with small, fast and versatile units. The rebels claimed that they captured him during the Battle of Tripoli, on August 21, but later the claim turned out to be false.
On 24 August, Al-Saadi contacted CNN, stating that he had the authority to negotiate on behalf of loyalist forces, and wished to discuss a ceasefire with US and NATO authorities. On 31 August, Al-Saadi contacted Al Arabiya, stating his father was ready to step down, and called for dialog with the National Transitional Council.