The burial of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi has been delayed until the circumstances of his death can be further examined and a decision is made about where to bury the body, Libyan officials said today, as the UN human rights office called for an investigation into his death.
The transitional leadership had said it would bury the dictator Friday in accordance with Islamic tradition. Bloody images of Gaddafi's last moments in the hands of angry captors have raised questions over his treatment minutes before his death.
One son, Muatassim, was also killed but the fate of Gaddafi's one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam was unclear. Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi said Seif al-Islam was wounded and being held in a hospital in the city of Zlitan. But Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said today that the son's whereabouts were uncertain. Shammam said Gaddafi's body was still in Misrata, where it was taken after he was found in his hometown of Sirte, and revolutionary forces were discussing where it should be interred.
Yesterday's death of Gaddafi, two months after he was driven from power and into hiding, decisively buries the nearly 42-year regime that had turned the oil-rich country into an international pariah and his own personal fiefdom. It also thrusts Libya into a new age in which its transitional leaders must overcome deep divisions and rebuild nearly all its institutions from scratch to achieve dreams of democracy. Many Libyans awoke after a night of jubilant celebration and celebratory gunfire with hope for the future but also concern that their new rulers might repeat the mistakes of the past.