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Gaddafi buried in unmarked grave

10-26-2011 10:11 BJT

Moammar Gadhafi was buried early yesterday morning in an unmarked grave in a modest Islamic ceremony, closing the book on his nearly 42-year rule of Libya and the eight-month civil war to oust him.

A Gadhafi nephew read a prayer for the dead before Gadhafi's body - along with those of his son Muatassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Younis - were handed over for burial, said Ibrahim Beitalmal, a spokesman for the military council in the port city of Misrata.

The bodies had been kept in cold storage in Misrata for four days before being taken under cover of darkness to the burial site, which Beitalmal said was "not far" from the city. As part of the ceremony, the bodies were washed in line with Islamic tradition. A Muslim cleric, a nephew of Gadhafi and sons of Abu Bakr then recited prayers before handing the bodies over for burial, which took place at 5am.

Libya's new leaders have said they would not reveal the location of the grave, fearing it could be vandalized or turned into a shrine for the ex-dictator's core supporters.

Gadhafi was captured alive last Thursday as he tried to flee his hometown of Sirte, where he had been hiding since revolutionary forces swept into the capital, Tripoli, two months earlier.

He died later that day in unclear circumstances, and Libyan leaders have promised an investigation in response to international pressure to look into Gadhafi's death. Video has emerged showing Gadhafi being beaten and abused by a mob after his capture, and researchers for the New York-based Human Rights Watch have said there are strong indications he was killed in custody.

Human rights activists have warned that the new Libya could get off on the wrong foot if vigilante justice is condoned.

The bodies of Gadhafi, Muatassim and Younis had been kept in a refrigerated produce locker in a warehouse area of Misrata for the past four days. Hundreds lined up every day to view the corpses, some coming from hundreds of kilometers away. Visitors donned surgical masks, and at times guards arranged separate lines for men and women.

Over the weekend, Libya's chief pathologist, Dr Othman el-Zentani, performed autopsies on the three bodies and also took DNA samples to confirm their identities. El-Zentani has said Gadhafi died from a shot to the head, and said the full report would be released later this week, after he presents his findings to the attorney general.

The Libyan uprising that began in mid-February and quickly turned into civil war has decimated the Gadhafi family. His wife, Safiya, fled to Algeria with their daughter and one son, while another son fled to Niger. At least three other sons - Muatassim, Seif al-Arab and Khamis - have been killed. Another son, former heir apparent Seif al-Islam, remains at large.

A high-ranking Tuareg official in Niger said yesterday that Seif al-Islam, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is headed for Niger with the help of ethnic Tuaregs, a tribe that was among Gadhafi's strongest supporters.

Also yesterday, Bani, a revolutionary spokesman, said an explosion rocked a fuel depot near Sirte a day earlier, with al-Arabiya TV reporting that at least 100 people were killed. More than 50 people were injured in the blast.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Shanghai Daily

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