Libyans Line Up to See Gadhafi’s Body

Posted October 21st, 2011 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Libyans lined up at a shopping center on the outskirts of the city Misrata, hoping to get a glimpse of the body of their former leader.

Moammar Gadhafi's body lay in repose Friday on a mattress in the freezer of an old meat store.

Some of the visitors used their mobile phones to take pictures or video of dead leader. Other video from the freezer showed Libyans posing with the body. Outside, some Libyans shouted “God is great.” One man said Gadhafi's body looked “a little frightening.”

Video of Gadhafi's body shows what appears to be a bullet hole in the left side of his head and another in the center of his chest.

Uncertainty over how Gadhafi met his end has raised the possibility of an International Criminal Court probe, with the United Nations and rights groups raising questions about how he died.

U.N. human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said Friday the circumstances surrounding Gadhafi's death are “unclear” and that videos showing his demise are “disturbing.”

Mobile phone video shows National Transitional Council fighters carrying a wounded and bleeding Gadhafi shortly before he died. Later images showed his body with apparent gunshot wounds to his head.

Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril visited the body in Misrata Friday. He told reporters an autopsy had been done and that results and samples were being sent to The Hague.

Earlier, he had said Gadhafi was pulled from a hiding place in a sewage pipe and later mortally wounded in crossfire between pro- and anti-Gadhafi fighters.

Other officials said he was beaten and then killed.

Also Friday, Gadhafi's wife joined those calling for an investigation. Syria-based Arrai Television quoted Safia Gadhafi as demanding the U.N. probe how he died.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also called for an investigation Friday during a radio interview, saying Gadhafi should have been treated as a prisoner of war under the rules of the Geneva convention.

Libyan provisional government officials have been debating what to do with Gadhafi's body, and plans to bury him have been put on hold.

In the meantime, NATO officials are considering bringing their mission in Libya to a close.

NATO representatives have been meeting in Brussels Friday to discuss the more than six-month air campaign. NATO's top operations commander, Admiral James Stavridis, said Friday he was going to recommend NATO's mission in Libya come to an end.

Earlier, NATO said Gadhafi and his entourage were part of a heavily armed convoy targeted by NATO aircraft as it tried to force its way out of Sirte. NATO said it did not know at the time that Gadhafi was in the convoy but that the airstrikes likely contributed to his capture.

Libyan officials said Thursday's fighting in Sirte also killed one of Gadhafi's sons, Mutassim, and longtime defense chief Abu Baker Younis. But questions remain about the fate of another of Gadhafi's sons, Seif al-Islam.

There have been conflicting reports that Seif was surrounded, captured or killed in a village near Sirte. On Friday, an NTC military spokesman told reporters that Seif was mortally wounded and dying in a hospital in Zlitan.

Colonel Ahmed Omar Bani said hospital officials told him late Thursday that Seif was dying and that by now he may be “out of this world like his father.”

Gadhafi had ruled Libya for more than four decades when a rebellion began in February in the eastern city of Benghazi and then spread across the country.

NTC officials say the interim government will formally announce Libya's liberation from Gadhafi's rule on Saturday and begin talks on a government transition.