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Qaddafi Buried In Secret Location


Libyans wait in line to see the corpse of Muammar Qaddafi in a cold storage container in Misurata.

Libyans wait in line to see the corpse of Muammar Qaddafi in a cold storage container in Misurata.

Muammar Qaddafi, his son Muatassim, and one of his aides have been buried in a secret location in the Libyan desert.

Officials from Libya's interim government confirmed the bodies were buried early today.

"Firstly, as far as I know, there is a fatwa that has been issued by the head of the Fatwa Council concerning the burial place of this body," Libyan Information Minister Mahmud Shammam told Reuters in Benghazi. "I cannot say exactly what the content of the fatwa is, but it says that his body should not be buried in Muslim cemeteries and should not be buried in a known place to avoid any sedition. This our general position."

Media reports quoted unnamed officials from the National Transitional Council as saying the bodies were buried "in a religious ceremony."

But Libya's new interim prime minister Ali Tarhouni, speaking in Benghazi on October 25, could not confirm whether the bodies were interred according to Muslim tradition:

"[Qaddafi] is buried. I think he was given -- I'm not sure but I think he was given the Muslim burial," he said. "I don't think he deserved it but that's the NTC's decision."

The bodies of the three men had been on display for several days in a meat storage warehouse in Misurata.

Qaddafi's death brought eight months of fighting in Libya to an end.

He died in unclear circumstances within hours of his capture on October 20 near his hometown of Sirte.

Libya's new leaders have promised an investigation, responding to international pressure.

NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil on October 24 said the National Transitional Council had formed a committee to investigate.

Human Rights Watch said such a probe would send an important message.

"I think an investigation into Qaddafi's death is critical for two reasons," said Fred Abrahams, special adviser for Human Rights Watch. "The first is if you don't do it, it sends a message that Libyans can take justice into their own hands. And it's not just about Qaddafi, but about all the people who collaborated and have blood on their hands from 42 years, and you don't want to send a message that even the local, neighborhood spy can be treated in this way.

"And the second reason is about reining in the militias. You've got hundreds of armed groups and local militias around Libya now, and if you don't begin to investigate this case, it sends the message they can operate with impunity."

Human Rights Watch also called on the NTC to probe an "apparent mass execution" of 53 alleged Qaddafi supporters at a hotel in Sirte.

compiled from agency reports
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