Out of sight: Gaddafi buried as an outcast

NTC orders inquiry into killings of former dictator and son after they had been captured alive

The death, brutal and pitiless, had been made public with humiliating and gory details recorded on mobile telephones for international consumption. The funeral at dawn, by contrast, was a hurried and secret affair.

After four days when the bodies of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Muatassim were on display in a cold storage unit, the new Libyan administration ended the show yesterday and disposed of the morbid exhibits, proclaiming that the past was now truly buried.

There was time, however, for another piece of video footage, apparently showing the torture of the 69-year-old strongman in the moments before he died last Thursday. Then, just after 5am yesterday, the corpses of the father and son, along with the former defence minister, Abu Bakr Younis, who had been laid down in the same meat locker, were handed over to members of their families for the last rites.

Two nephews of Gaddafi and the sons of Younis were present when the former dictator's cleric, Khaled Tantoush, who had been captured with him during the attempt to flee the siege of Sirte, read out the prayer for the dead. The burials were away from a cemetery. The National Transitional Council (NTC) maintained that this was necessitated by a fatwa decreed by the country's ulama, senior religious figures, that Gaddafi was an apostate and thus could not be allowed into the resting places of true believers.

Mahmoud Shammam, the minister for information said: "This was something which had been decided by the experts. Their order was that the body should not be in a Muslim graveyard and it should not be buried in a known place in order to avoid sedition."

The latter point was of particular concern to the revolutionaries, who had repeatedly stressed that no shrine should be created. An earlier plan to hand the remains over to Gaddafi's tribe floundered because the elders refused to give guarantees that the internment would take place in the wilderness.

Burial at sea was ruled out because it was seen as too similar to the end of Osama Bin Laden, and the NTC did not want to be seen to be emulating the US. Thousands of Libyans, including families with young children, had filed past the bodies in Misrata. Officials at the port city, which had withstood a prolonged and vicious siege by regime forces, had ignored instructions from the NTC, worried by the adverse reaction the spectacle was provoking abroad, to draw the exhibition to a close.

Some, however, viewed the proceedings with increasing concern. Amr Yacoub al-Fishtan, one of the guards at the market complex where the bodies were being kept, said: "We had fought against his troops and they had done terrible things to Misrata. At first we felt it was only right that people here should see that he was finally gone. But then I saw all those turning up day after day, women, young boys and girls, and many of us were getting worried. It is a good thing that they have been taken away." Abdul-Mohammed Elshami, another fighter, added: "Also, it was getting smelly. The room is refrigerated and that made it not so bad for the first couple of days, but then it started getting bad."

Bowing to international pressure, the NTC's chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has ordered an investigation into the killings of the Gaddafis after they had been captured alive.

A post mortem on the former dictator by the country's chief pathologist concluded that death was due to a gunshot wound to the head.

His full report is due to be published later this week.

Few here believe, however, that anyone will be punished for the killings. An earlier inquiry into the assassination of Abdul Fatah Younis, the commander of the rebel forces in the east, had meandered to nothing.

"And he was a revolutionary chief," Mr Elshami pointed out. "Can you imagine anyone going to jail for killing Gaddafi who we all hated? This inquiry will vanish into the sand, like his body."

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin