Was Gaddafi Executed?

Amid the jubilation over the death of Muammar el-Gaddafi, questions have arisen that could cast a shadow over the still-fragile National Transitional Council (NTC) government. These include when, and where, to bury him: Under traditional Islamic law, every effort should be made to bury a body within 24 hours. Furthermore, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay called on Friday for a full investigation about the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death. Videos have been widely circulating on the internet, one showing him alive and the other showing him dead. As Pillay’s spokesman Rupert Colville, said, “there are four or five different versions of what happened in between those two cell phone videos — something that raises “major concerns” about whether Gaddafi was executed, an “extra-judicial killing” that is illegal under international law.

Acting NTC Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has said that Gaddafi was shot in the head during crossfire between his supporters and NTC fighters after his capture. He was alive when he was dragged onto a truck but died while it was moving. But “gruesome mobile phone footage obtained by the Global Post undermines this account,” showing Gaddafi, bleeding from the left side of his head, being dragged out of the drain pipe where he had been hiding.

A group of fighters then frogmarch him towards a pick-up truck. There are shouts of “God is great” and the rattle of gunfire. At one point Gaddafi keels over; a fighter kicks him and scuffs dirt over his bloodstained clothing. The rebels prop Gaddafi back on his feet and propel him onwards.

Gaddafi is clearly dazed and wounded – but is alive, conscious, and pleading feebly with his captors. Fighters at the scene said that he was injured in the shoulder and leg when he was found. Fresh blood is also flowing from a head injury.

It is yet unclear whether Gaddafi will be buried in his birthplace of Surt or in Misrata, where his body was brought after fighters from that town found him and the remnants of a convoy that had been struck by NATO fire including French warplanes and a US Predator drone. Gaddafi’s body and that of his son, Mutassim, who was also captured in Surt, have been moved to different private houses for people to see and are being kept in a meat storage container. Misrata’s chief forensic doctor, Othman al-Zintani, has said that full autopsies will be carried out. NTC officials have expressed concerns about Gaddafi’s burial site becoming a shrine for supporters and are considering a burial at sea, as occurred after the US Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden in May.

Also in question is the role of NATO in Gaddafi’s death with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, criticizing the NATO airstrikes. On Friday, NATO said that it had destroyed at least 11 vehicles of an 80 vehicle convoy that was seeking to flee Surt and that, according to new information, it has now learned “that Qaddafi was in the convoy and that the strike likely contributed to his capture.” NATO has said that it will seek to end its operations in Libya by October 31, and will make a formal declaration next week.

Libyans have been celebrating the death of the man who ruled as a dictator for 42 years. Residents of Misrata stood all day in line to glimpse the deposed dictator’s body.

“I felt joy,” said Mustafa Ali, 37, an unemployed Misuratan exiting the meat locker. “How long have we been waiting for this? We have martyrs and this is his penalty.” Libya’s oil minister Ali Tarhouni has said that Gaddafi’s corpse will be kept “for a few days” before burial and commented that, while looking at the body, he was “…thinking of all the comrades and friends who spent decades fighting him, that didn’t live to see this day.”

One of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, remains at large. Justice minister Mohammed al-Alagi had said he was wounded and is being held in a hospital in the city of Zlitan, but other reports have said that al-Islam is fleeing south towards Niger.

Libya’s liberation will be announced Saturday in Benghazi, where the uprising began in February, rather than in Tripoli. A new interim government is to be formed and headed by a new prime minister who will replace Jibril; this new official will lead Libya until elections are held in eight months. He will have much to contend with: There are competing factions in Benghazi, Tripoli and Misrata and the political and military bases will need to be brought together.

Gaddafi’s violent end casts a cold light on the yet unresolved conflicts that have arisen in the Arab Spring:

Across the region, Colonel Qaddafi’s bloody end has brought home the growing awareness of the challenges that lie ahead: the balancing of vengeance against justice, impatience for jobs against the slow pace of economic recovery, fidelity to Islam against tolerance for minorities, and the need for stability against the drive to tear down of the pillars of old governments.

“For all of us, it is a hard road, because our battle is against ourselves,” said Ahmed Ounaies, a former Tunisian ambassador who served briefly as minister of foreign affairs after the ouster of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. “We have to listen to our values, our aspirations, our present, against all the past that we have lived. It is a hard test, and success is not assured.”

Once the euphoria over Gaddafi’s death subsides, could Libya become a failed state — or is the past several months’ fight for liberation the beginning of a new and stronger Libya?


Previous Care2 Coverage

Libyan Officials Recognize Syrian Opposition As Legitimate

With Warped Vision, Gadhafi Maddened Libya, West

UPDATE: Gadhafi Dead, Says Libyan Prime Minister


Photo taken in Ben Jawat, Libya, March of 2011 by شبكة برق | B.R.Q


Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y6 years ago

Sick stuff but no less than what he did to Misrata and Cyrenaica. And to tens of thousands of other Lybians over the last 40 years.

The Italian connection: Besides being Lybia's former colonial ruler and biggest trading partner, Italy shares history and culture with Lybia dating back to Roman times. There are also striking parallels between Ghaddafi's death and the Italian dictator Mussolini's: Both captured by guerrillas and shot out of hand with no trial (a big mistake), and their corpses displayed like lunchmeat for the mob. A shame for all the people they murdered; it's important to have trials of dictators to account for why and when all their victims died.

Irony of history: Mussolini's Fascist party was banned after WWII but morphed into a variety of different Nationalist and Right-wing parties in Italy's 200 party political circus. They were all eventually absorbed into the Right-center coalition now led by Berlusconi, who was friends with Ghaddafi.

It was Berlusconi who was behind the early retirement and exile proposals for the Colonel when this whole thing started; even the US got involved. Shame Ghaddafi turned them down...not for him, but for all the people who had to die because of that.

Norma Hammond
Norma Hammond6 years ago

Oh, please, This man murdered millions to stay in power and tortured God knows how many others, A trial would have been a wasre if time and money. He was shown the same mercy that he showed his own peiple. I did nor find the video hard to watch because how many of his own people begged for mercy before his thugs executed them in cold blood. He got what he deserved and may his son ger the same mercy. I believe in military tribunals like everyone else, bur do you really think he left documentation of his crimes for us to find??? I don't think that we would find a treasure trove like we did in Gernaby at the end of WWII. Yes, Gadaffi was a friend to the west, but he treated his own people shamefully. I think that his son would do the same if he somehow came into power because he was braunwashed since birth, So my answer in a nutshell is that they did the right thing. We still do noit know what happebed between the time they found him and the time they shot him. I would like to know that.

Parvez Zuberi
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

What difference it makes he was executed which is an extra judicial killing he was alive and should have been tried in Criminal court to have known the truth but it was not what NATO forces wanted because he would have open all the secrets of CIA & MI6 so best was to execute him the secrets are buried and it suit the Powers behind the destruction of Libya

tiffany t.
tiffany t6 years ago

after watching the video, the people involved did not intend to turn him over. yes he was an evil man but what was done to him was just as evil. i do not see any justice, only more hate and bloodshed

Cynthia T.
Cynthia T6 years ago

Considering the mood of the country in what they have endured during Gaddafi's 42-year regime, it's easy to imagine the triumph that the rebels felt in capturing their dictator for over 4 decades. They must have felt elated and victorious. At some point after the initial capture, it has been reported that one rebel, not all of them, but one rebel, fired the fatal bullet killing Gaddafi. But why? They had all planned to bring him in alive to stand trial. Why didn't that happen? Why did that one rebel make the decision to take it upon himself to fire the fatal bullet? Maybe, just maybe, it was all overwhelming and he got caught up in the moment. Considering the mental state of these rebels and what Gaddafi symbolized to them and their country, it's certainly not a stretch. I'm surprised they held it together for so long and didn't execute him when he was in the drain pipe where he was found. it were me, I might have gotten carried away too and did the same thing. Since our country has never been ruled by a dictator, we cannot presume to understand how the citizens of Libya think and react under these horrific circumstances. We can only surmise. In a brief moment, a dictator is dead and the people are now free. Hopefully, they can move forward with democracy and enjoy free elections and have better lives for themselves and their children.

Brian M.
Past Member 6 years ago

The future of Libya has been determined by the rebels. Given the chance to demonstrate compassion, they committed cold-blooded murder of the brutal tyrant they despised. Given the opportunity to obey the rule of law; they acted like a mob. They have sown the seeds for producing the next tyrant. The more things change; the more they stay the same.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

"I think the "proof" that Gaddafi was behind Lockerbie is tenuous at best."........Eug, he admitted being responsible for it and bragged about it. It's all on video.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Mellisa, "Think NATO went a tad bit far..".......don't look now, but NATO didn't shoot this monster........his own people did.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

" He was portrayed as a National hero in the Western press for two decades, and the dictator was able to remain in power due to support from the American government and other Nations that traded for Libya's oil.".......really, Stanley? What is YOUR news source? Just curious. The ones I've watched all showed him as being seriously condemned as a human rights violator and an interntional criminal, going back to the Reagan Administration. Yes, it's unfortunate that oil was the source of his income and therefore, his power, but he also waged fear on his own people to remain in power, same as almost all dictators. NOBODY in "the West" supported him, unless they were related to him, and it's my understanding that even his own family denounced much of what he said and did.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 6 years ago

Does a bear shit in the woods?