Libyan rebels will let leader Moammar Khadafy leave country if he steps down immediately
Libyan rebels will let strongman Col. Moammar Khadafy leave the country—and not charge him with any crimes—if he steps down now, their leader vowed Tuesday.
“If he leaves Libya immediately, during 72 hours, and stops the bombardment, we as Libyans will step back from pursuing him for crimes,” Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the opposition National Council, told the Al Jazeera network.
Jalil said their “love for our country” trumped their desire to avenge 42 years of repressive rule—and prosecute him “for the crimes of oppression, persecution, starvation and massacres.”
“We will have to wait and see what the regime’s response is,” he said.
Khadafy was reportedly heading to the Rixos Hotel in the capital, Tripoli, to make an announcement. His flunkies continued to deny that he was quitting.
Meanwhile, Khadafy’s forces were reportedly winning back territory from the ragtag rebel army that had—until now—fought government goons to a standoff.
The first signs that the tyrant might be folding appeared Monday when Khadafy reportedly offered to flee Libya in exchange for safe passage for himself and his money.
Khadafy sent an emissary to the rebel council in the free city of Benghazi asking for guarantees he won’t be arrested on his way out.
Al Jazeera said the rebels initially rejected the deal because it would mean an “honorable” exit for Khadafy.
Tonight, New York’s street vendors will hold a vigil for the humble Tunisian fruit seller whose suicide set of the revolts sweeping the Arab world.
Mohamed Bouazizi, 26, lit himself on fire Dec. 17 in his rural village after being harassed for years by bribe-seeking cops. He supported his mother and siblings with the meager take from pushing a wheelbarrow of fruit.
Bouazizi’s suicide sparked a revolt that spread quickly until all of Tunisia was engulfed. Ten days after Bouazizi died, Tunisia’s corrupt leader fled in fear.
People began marching from Morocco to Oman, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak fell.
New York vendors plan a candlelight vigil for Bouazizi at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday outside the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station.