Footage of the arrest of Hala el-Mesrati, known as “Qaddafi’s presenter,” by revolutionaries in Tripoli has become exceedingly popular across the internet.
In a clip posted on the video sharing website YouTube, three of the revolutionaries are sitting together carrying their guns and narrating how Mesrati, who since the start of the February 17 uprising had been an ardent supporter of Muammar Qaddafi, was arrested. Then they show a video of her sitting and talking to one of the revolutionaries who was standing in front of her with his gun.
The video then features a phone call she makes to the Libya al-Horra channel, in which she denies being arrested.
“I surrendered to the revolutionaries when I saw how decent they are,” she said.
Mesrati says she is currently staying with a Libyan family and that she was not harmed in anyway. However, when asked her to come to the channel to talk to the people and tell them that she had joined the revolution, she refused for fear of being shot.
In an allusion to her much criticized support for Qaddafi, the presenter asked Misrati, “Is Libya about Muammar Qaddafi?”
“Libya cannot be reduced to one person. Libya is above everyone,” she replied.
When the presenter told her that Qaddafi had abandoned her in reference to the latest victories by the revolutionaries, she refused to see her current status from that perspective.
“Nobody abandoned me. I surrendered to the Libyan boys because they are good and treated me very well.”
Mesrati’s last appearance on the official Libyan channel al-Jamahiriya stirred even more controversy than the rest of her televised statements as she brandished a gun on air and threatened the revolutionaries in case they were thinking of storming the TV building.
However, Mesrati is most famous for the “fatwa” she issued on air concerning the reaction of the Security Council to Qaddafi’s violent suppression of the protests.
“The Security Council adopted the no-fly zone in Libya and this is not valid because adoption is prohibited in Islam,” she said.
Mesrati’s appearance on TV with a gun was not the first of its kind. Another presenter appeared wearing the Libyan national costume and holding a machine gun.
“Who could arm his people like that? Is there a president in the world who would give weapons to his people like this if they are not loyal to him?”
He then vowed that he and the Libyan people will keep fighting.
“Till the last breath, the last bullet, the last child, the last drop of blood.”
A group of Libyan youth has created a page on the social networking website Facebook calling for the trial of Mesrati for high treason and slander as well as issuing false religious edicts and using her job to attack the revolutionaries in the media.
(This article was translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid.)