Friday, October 21, 2011

Gadhafi's Burial Delayed

From the Slatest, Oct. 21

The burial of Muammar Qaddafi’s body has been delayed to allow for a further investigation into how the deposed Libyan leader was killed, and to give officials more time to figure out where they should bury the body, Libya’s interim government said Friday.

The Associated Press reports that National Transitional Council leaders had originally said that they would bury Qaddafi on Friday in accordance with Islamic traditions, although those plans are now on hold after the U.N. human rights office called for an investigation into the circumstances of the 69-year-old’s death.
A spokesman for the U.N. panel set up earlier this year to investigate abuses in Libya said it wanted to take a closer look at how Qaddafi was killed, but that it was too early to tell if the panel would push for a formal investigation at the national or international level.
The spokesman, Rupert Colville, told reporters in Geneva that there remain questions about whether Qaddafi was killed during a skirmish between his security detail and the revolutionaries, as Libya’s prime minister suggested Thursday, or whether he was executed.
“The two cell phone videos that have emerged, one of him alive, and one of him dead, taken together are very disturbing," he said, according to the AP.
UPDATE Thursday 6:16 p.m.: Muammar Qaddafi was shot in the head during "intense crossfire" between revolutionaries and his own security detail, Libya's prime minister said Thursday.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril pushed back against unconfirmed reports that Qaddafi had been executed at the hands of the revolutionaries after he was captured alive.
Jibril told the paper that Qaddafi was discovered hiding in "a big pipe of the sewage system" in Sirte on Thursday morning. He was armed but did not resist arrest. It was only when Qaddafi was being escorted to a truck that a firefight broke out, during which the former Libyan strongman was shot in the head. "That was the deadly shot," Jibril said.
The prime minister continued: "I cannot confirm whether he was shot by our people or his security brigade. It was crossfire." Qaddafi reportedly died within walking distance of a nearby hospital.
Jibril's comments contradicted previous unconfirmed reports that Qaddafi was executed by revolutionary soldiers. One report suggested that Qaddafi was killed by a man in his 20s who used the former leader's golden handgun to deliver the fatal shot.
Those reports appeared to be grounded in speculation that arose after a number of graphic images surfaced that made it clear that Qaddafi was alive when he was first captured by the revolutionaries. The New York Times has a quick rundown of the digital clips:
Al Jazeera television showed footage of Colonel Qaddafi, alive but bloody, as he was dragged around by armed men in [Sirte]. The television also broadcast a separate clip of his half-naked torso, with eyes staring vacantly and an apparent gunshot wound to the head, as jubilant fighters fired automatic weapons in the air. A third video, posted on Youtube, showed excited fighters hovering around his lifeless-looking body, posing for photographs and yanking his limp head up and down by the hair.
The prime minister also confirmed that one of Qaddafi's sons, Mutassim, was killed in a separate firefight in another part of the city. Saif al-Islam, Qaddafi's most infamous son and right-hand man, managed to escape and remains at large, Jibril said.
Meanwhile, NATO elaborated on the role that its warplanes played in the attack on Qaddafi's convoy that preceded his death. Officials said that French fighter jets and a U.S. drone fired on the disorganized convoy as it was leaving Sirte, the Post reports. Officials stressed, however, that it was unclear if the airstrikes hit the vehicle carrying Qaddafi.

Read it all here.


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