Gathafi praises ‘poor and modest’ Mubarak

Clinging to power

TRIPOLI - Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi heaped praise on toppled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, describing him as "poor and modest" and saying he deserved honour rather than humiliation.
"I know Hosni Mubarak, a poor and modest man" who loves his people, Gathafi said in an audio message broadcast on state television late Saturday to mark the anniversary of the 1952 coup in Egypt led by Gamal Abdel Nasser against the monarchy.
This "revolution," Gathafi said, had inspired him to lead a coup in Libya that toppled Western-backed King Idriss on September 1, 1969.
"Instead of being humiliated, Hosni Mubarak should be honoured," Gathafi said.
Mubarak, 83, whose three-decade rule ended with a popular revolt in February, is expected to go on trial on August 3 with his two sons on murder and corruption charges.
He is under arrest in a hospital in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, undergoing treatment for a heart condition.
Gathafi, who is clinging to power despite a massive revolt against his autocratic rule and months of NATO air strikes against his regime, urged Egyptians to follow Libya's political model -- theoretically direct democracy and the power of the masses.
He added that the conflict sweeping his country was not a battle against his regime but a "colonial plot."
He also denied accusations by international rights groups of a brutal suppression of dissent and that his regime had killed thousands of protesters.
"They lie to you and say, 'Libya kills its people with bullets, that is why we have come to protect civilians'," Gathafi said, referring to the NATO air campaign which was mandated by the United Nations with the aim of protecting civilians in Libya.
"Only eight people have been killed and an inquiry is under way to determine who killed them. There are no protests and no gunfire. Show us where the thousands of people (reportedly killed) are buried," Gathafi said.