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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'