Bowing to U.S. and international pressure, Libya ordered a probe on Monday into the circumstances surrounding Muammar Qadhafi’s death, promising to examine the final moments of the ousted leader’s life before he was killed by a gunshot wound to the head.
The investigation comes after the United States, Britain and the United Nations pushed to find out whether Qadhafi was executed, given the questions raised in light of video images of the ousted leader after he was captured alive, the Associated Press reported. An autopsy on Qadhafi’s body over the weekend revealed he had died because of a gunshot wound to the head, according to doctors who performed the post-mortem.
On Monday, Libya’s interim leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, said the National Transitional Council has set up a panel to examine Qadhafi’s death. Although NTC officials had said last week they believed Qadhafi had been killed in the crossfire of fighting between his supporters and revolutionary forces, Abdul-Jalil told reporters at a press conference that the committee will also investigate the possibility that a supporter of the toppled leader fired the fatal bullet to Qadhafi’s head.
“Let us question who has the interest in the fact that Gadhafi will not be tried. Libyans want to try him for what he did to them, with executions, imprisonment and corruption,” Abdul-Jalil said, according to the AP. “Free Libyans wanted to keep Gadhafi in prison and humiliate him as long as possible. Those who wanted him killed were those who were loyal to him or had played a role under him, his death was in their benefit.”
Meanwhile, the public display of Qadhafi’s body — which had turned a Misrata meat locker into a local tourist attraction — ended Monday, Reuters reported. Over the weekend, Qadhafi’s family released a statement requesting that his body be returned to them, according to Reuters. They also asked for the bodies of Qadhafi’s son, Mo’tassim, and the other “martyrs’ bodies” who were killed on Thursday.
“We call on the UN, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Amnesty International to force the [National] Transitional Council to hand over the martyrs’ bodies to our tribe in Sirte and to allow them to perform their burial ceremony in accordance with Islamic customs and rules,” they wrote in the statement, Reuters reported.
Abdul-Jalil said the NTC has set up a panel to decided with what to do with the bodies, the AP wrote.
U.N. human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville said on Friday that the the human rights office would examine Qadhafi’s death in light of international law. And on Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told NBC’s “Meet the Press” she supported a probe of Qadhafi’s killing.
“I would— strongly— support— both a U.N. investigation that has been called for and the investigation that the Transitional National Council said they will conduct. You know, I think it’s important that this new government, this— effort to have a democratic Libya— start with the rule of law, start with accountability,” Clinton said.
“I view the investigation on its own merits as important, but also as part of a process that will give Libya the best possible chance to navigate toward a stable, secure, democratic future,” she added.
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