Libya gives Gaddafi inglorious secret burial

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi and his son  Mo’tassim were buried in a secret desert location on Tuesday,  five days after the deposed Libyan leader was captured, killed  and put on grisly public display.

“He (Gaddafi) has just been buried now in the desert along  with his son,” National Transitional Council (NTC) commander  Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters by telephone.

Gaddafi’s cleric, Khaled Tantoush, who was captured with  him, prayed over the bodies before they were taken from the  compound in the coastal city of Misrata, where they had been on  show, and handed to two NTC loyalists for burial, he said. The NTC had worried many outsiders by displaying the corpses  in a meat locker in the fiercely anti-Gaddafi city of Misrata  until their decaying state forced them to call a halt.

Under pressure from Western allies, the NTC promised the  same day to investigate how Gaddafi and his son were killed.  Mobile phone footage shows both alive after their capture. The  former leader was seen being mocked, beaten and abused before he  died, in what NTC officials say was crossfire.

The saga has made Western allies of Libya’s interim  leadership uneasy about the prospects for the rule of law and  stable government in the post-Gaddafi era.

“This is a test. The NTC has repeatedly said that they will  distinguish themselves from the Gaddafi regime in terms of the  respect of human rights and the rule of law,” U.S. Assistant  Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman  said. “Now is the time for them to begin actions that will help  them reinforce these words,” he told a news conference in  Morocco

Most Libyans, however, had little sympathy for Gaddafi or  the way he was treated.

“I laughed when I saw him being beaten as he deserved to be.  And I laugh again now that I know he is in the ground,” said  Emani Zaid, 20, a student in Tripoli. “If the men who buried him  are true free Libyans, they can keep the secret (of his grave).”

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