Friday, 21 October 2011

Libya delays burial plans for Muammar Gaddafi

Libya's government has delayed Muammar Gaddafi's burial amid uncertainty about his final resting place and the circumstances of his killing.
Oil minister Ali Tarhouni said the body of the ex-leader may be kept "for a few days". Under Islamic tradition burial should take place as soon as possible.
The UN is seeking an inquiry into Col Gaddafi's death in Sirte on Thursday.
Meanwhile Nato is expected to declare an end to its Libya campaign in the coming hours.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the death of Col Gaddafi meant Nato's military intervention had reached its conclusion.
"Clearly the operation is coming to its end," he told reporters.
Questions mounting The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Tripoli says the authorities now have to decide how to deal with Col Gaddafi's death and in particular his burial.
They have said they will conduct a secret burial and there is some speculation that they might even try to bury him at sea, as al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was buried, to prevent any grave being turned into a shrine, she adds.


Authorities now have the dilemma of what to do with the body of Muammar Gaddafi, now in the town of Misrata where it was paraded in the streets on Thursday.
Disagreements appear to have broken out over what should be done with it. Under Islamic law Col Gaddafi should be buried within 24 hours of his death. Interim authorities want a secret burial but no decision has yet been taken on where it should take place - in Misrata, Sirte or out in the Libyan desert.
One official told the BBC that fighters from Misrata who captured the fugitive leader don't want to give up control over what happens to his body now.
Mr Tarhouni told Reuters news agency that Col Gaddafi's body was not going to be released from a morgue in Misrata for immediate burial.
"I told them to keep it in the freezer for a few days... to make sure that everybody knows he is dead," he said.
Asked about the burial arrangements, he said: "There is no decision yet."
Reuters also quoted an unnamed official as saying there was disagreement within the National Transitional Council (NTC) over what to do with the body.
In a separate report, it quotes senior NTC commander Abdel Majid Mlegta as saying members of the colonel's tribe are in contact with anti-Gaddafi fighters to discuss the possibility of taking on the task of burying him.
Meanwhile, questions are mounting as to exactly what happened in Col Gaddafi's last moments following his capture.
Officials have denied he was executed.

Start Quote

There are two videos out there, one showing him alive and one showing him dead and there are four or five different versions of what happened in between those two videos”
End Quote Rupert Colville, spokesman for UN human rights chief Navi Pillay
Acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said Col Gaddafi had been shot in the head in an exchange of fire between Gaddafi loyalists and NTC fighters following his capture in his hometown of Sirte
Video footage suggests he was dragged through the streets.
An NTC fighter told the BBC he found the former Libyan leader hiding in a drainage pipe and he had begged him not to shoot.
The fighter showed reporters a golden pistol he said he had taken from Col Gaddafi.
'Major concerns' Senior NTC member Mohammed Sayeh told the BBC he doubted that the colonel was deliberately killed, but added: "Even if he was killed intentionally, I think he deserves this."
He added: "If they kill him 1,000 times, I think it will not pay back the Libyans what he has done."
On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said there should be a full investigation into the killing.
Her spokesman Rupert Colville told the BBC that Col Gaddafi's death could have been illegal.
"There are two videos out there, one showing him alive and one showing him dead and there are four or five different versions of what happened in between those two cellphone videos. That obviously raises very, very major concerns," he said.
"People get killed in wars and that is recognised clearly in international law. On the other hand, it is also very clear under international law that summary executions, extra-judicial killings, are illegal."
UK-based human rights group Amnesty International called for "a full, independent and impartial inquiry" into the circumstances of Col Gaddafi's death.
However, our correspondents say few Libyans are worried about the manner of their former dictator's humiliating end. Celebrations continued late into the night across Libya.


  • National Transitional Council to issue a "declaration of liberation"
  • Elections for a Public National Conference to be held within 8 months
  • The new body is to appoint a prime minister, an interim government and a Constituent Authority which will draft a new constitution within 60 days
  • Constitution to be put to a referendum
  • If the constitution approved, general elections will be held within six months
The NTC is expected to formally announce the liberation of the country on Saturday in the eastern town of Benghazi.
Nato's seven-month campaign of air strikes was carried out under a UN mandate authorising the use of force to protect civilians in Libya.
Nato has carried out some 26,000 sorties and almost 10,000 strike missions.
Col Gaddafi, who came to power in a coup in 1969, was toppled from power in August. He was making his last stand in Sirte alongside two of his sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, according to reports.
A body that officials identified as that of Mutassim has been shown on Libyan TV.
There are conflicting reports as to the whereabouts of Saif al-Islam.
On Friday he was reported to be fleeing south towards Niger, according to NTC commander Abdul Majid Mlegta.

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