Gadhafi's Son Saadi Ready to Surrender, Say Rebels

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Gaddafi’s sons
Al Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of Libyan leader [Muammar] Gaddafi, reacts to a question at a news conference in Sydney February 7, 2005. Al Saadi Gaddafi is travelling in Australia with the Libyan soccer team, of which he is a member and will also meet with Australia's [Trade Minister Mark Vaile.]

Moammar Gadhafi's son al-Saadi Gadhafi told Libyan rebels on Wednesday that he is ready to surrender.

Rebel commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj said that Saadi called him on Tuesday, hoping to negotiate the terms.

Today I had a telephone conversation with Gadhafi’s son, Saadi, where he asked to be part of the revolution, and to get guarantees to come back to his people and the capital, Tripoli. He hinted to us his whereabouts, and we will be in contact with him to follow up on this matter,” Belhaj told Al Jazeera.

We told him, 'Don't fear for your life. We will guarantee your rights as a human being, and will deal with you humanely.'

Saadi is Gadhafi's third eldest son. He is a retired professional soccer player and was a member of the Libyan national team, a position he deserved; he played with three Italian Serie A teams before the conflict in Libya started in February.

He is also known for his ruthlessness. Saadi was allegedly sent to Benghazi to put down protestors earlier this year, and witnesses say he personally ordered troops to fire on unarmed protestors. Saadi's father, along with his brother Saif al-Islam, are wanted by the International Criminal Court for similar charges.

The extravagant footballer is also an animal lover, and he personally owns half of the 18 lions in the Tripoli Zoo.

Yet, Moammar Gadhafi's spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim gave a different account of the story. Ibrahim again rejected the authority of the National Transitional Council and said that Saadi would negotiate with rebels but not join them. According to the spokesman, Saadi was trying to mediate between the government and the N.T.C., hoping that the two parties could reach a compromise.

“No dignified, honorable nation would accept an ultimatum from armed gangs,” Ibrahim told The Associated Press, referring to the rebel government.

Despite efforts from the Gadhafi administration, as well as outside parties like Italy, the N.T.C. has repeatedly said that they will not negotiate.

Ibrahim said that Gadhafi was still in Libya, and told reporters that he was calling from somewhere just south of Tripoli. The rebels are currently searching for Gadhafi and have staked out the loyalist stronghold of Sirte, where Gadhafi was raised. NATO has been launching missiles at military targets in Sirte, while residents flee the city.

“If we want to unify the whole country and if we want to declare that the war is over, we have to free Sirte,” Mustafa Sagazly, Deputy Interior Minister of the NT.C., told The Washington Post.

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