Gadhafi's burial delayed for further investigation
Updated: 2011-10-21 20:23
A horse walks in a street in the devastated area where Muammar Gaddafi was hiding out in Sirte 0ctober 21, 2011. The burial of Gaddafi has been delayed for a few days until Libya's new rulers decide where to bury him, the oil minister said on Friday, but another transition government official said there was disagreement over what to do with his body. [Photo/Agencies]
TRIPOLI - The burial of slain leader Muammar Gadhafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said Friday, as the UN human rights office called for an investigation into his death.
The transitional leadership had said it would bury the dictator Friday in accordance with Islamic tradition. Bloody images of Gadhafi's last moments in the hands of angry captors have raised questions over his treatment minutes before his death. One son, Muatassim, was also killed but the fate of Gadhafi's one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam was unclear.
Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said Seif al-Islam was wounded and being held in a hospital in the city of Zlitan. But Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam on Friday that the son's whereabouts were uncertain.
Shammam said Gadhafi's body was still in Misrata, where it was taken after he was found in his hometown of Sirte, and revolutionary forces were discussing where it should be interred.
Gadhafi's death thrusts Libya into a new age in which its transitional leaders must overcome deep divisions and rebuild nearly all its institutions from scratch to achieve dreams of democracy.
Many Libyans awoke after a night of jubilant celebration and celebratory gunfire with hope for the future but also concern that their new rulers might repeat the mistakes of the past.
Khaled Almslaty, a 42-year-old clothing vendor in Tripoli, said he wished Gadhafi had been captured alive.
"But I believe he got what he deserved because if we prosecuted him for the smallest of his crimes, he would be punished by death," he said. "Now we hope the NTC will accelerate the formation of a new government and ... won't waste time on irrelevant conflicts and competing for authority and positions."
Bloody images of Gadhafi's last moments also cast a shadow over the celebrations, raising questions over how exactly he died. Video on Arab television stations showed a crowd of fighters shoving and pulling the goateed, balding Gadhafi, with blood splattered on his face and soaking his shirt.
Gadhafi struggled against them, stumbling and shouting as the fighters pushed him onto the hood of a pickup truck. One fighter held him down, pressing on his thigh with a pair of shoes in a show of contempt.
Fighters propped him on the hood as they drove for several moments, apparently to parade him around in victory.
"We want him alive. We want him alive," one man shouted before Gadhafi was dragged off the hood, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance.
Later footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head. His body was then paraded on a car through Misrata, a nearby city that suffered a brutal siege by regime forces during the eight-month civil war that eventually ousted Gadhafi. Crowds in the streets cheered, "The blood of martyrs will not go in vain."