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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ghoulish scenes as hundreds queue to gawp at Gaddafi's body as it lies in a meat locker

-Gaddafi's body covered, bullet wound to head masked
-Post mortem reveals Libyan leader died from gunshot injuries
-Commander: We wanted him alive but things got out of control
-Wounds on body of Gaddafi's son stitched up
-Family demand body be handed over for burial as row over death intensifies

By Leon Watson

Grisly sight: Shell-shocked Libyans look at the bloodied body of their former leader Muammar Gaddafi and take photos

It was the moment Libyans had been waiting 42 years for - so it was no surprise they wanted to believe it with their own eyes.

Hundreds braved the stench of rotting flesh today to see their hated former dictator's body, and know for sure he is never coming back.

Bloodied, bullet-ridden and left lying on a mattress in a meat locker, Colonel Gaddafi's remains were a grisly, undignified sight.

Undignified end: Gaddafi's head is turned slightly to the left. There are suggestions that this has been done to hide a bullet hole in his skull

Making history: A soldier takes a photograph next to Gaddafi's body. In front are his late Defence Minister Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr and his son Mutassim

Yet the ghoulish scene didn't stop queues stretching around the block as people flocked to gawp at the toppled tyrant in the coastal city of Misrata.

Fighters put his body on display lying side-by-side with his son, Mutassim, who commanded the defence of Sirte, and Defence Minister Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr.

In a dank, cold room in the makeshift mortuary, the former leader's body was covered by a blue blanket that left only his head exposed, hiding the bruises on his torso and scratch marks on his chest.

Gaddafi's battered head had been turned to the left, to hide the bullet hole that killed him. Guards overseeing the body had handed out green surgical masks because of the awful smell.

Libya's chief forensic pathologist Dr Othman al-Zintani today said an autopsy had confirmed Gaddafi was killed by a shot to the head, and he also had bullet wounds to the abdomen.

Doctors completed the examination today but Dr al-Zintani would not give more details until he has given his report to the attorney general.

Authorities in Libya want to establish whether he died in crossfire on the way to hospital, as the government has suggested, or whether he was executed by the fighters who caught him.

Rebel fighters claim they captured the 69-year-old alive and then shot him. But this account differs from the National Transitional Council's version, in which Gaddafi died in a gun-fight.

Public spectacle: Young children queue to see the body displayed in a meat locker in Misrata

Grim sight: Libyans wear medical masks as they wait in line to visit Muammar Gaddafi's body in Misrata

Wearing masks because of the stench, Libyans queue to visit their former dictator's body

One rebel today claimed that Gaddafi pleaded for his life, offering them as much gold as they wanted in return for sparing his life.

Hammad Mufti Ali, 28, told Italian daily Corriere Della Sera that a terrified Gaddafi swore he would pay for their children to go to school.

Mr Ali added: 'At one point someone screamed at him that instead of talking about money, as a good Muslim he should have been praying for his soul to be entrusted to God before dying.

'But he just kept saying he was ready to give us lots and lots of money and gold.'

He said that Gaddafi was then dragged on to the truck in scenes seen around the world and 'that's where he died.

'His body just could not take it. He was losing too much blood.'

Gaddafi was said to have more that $200billion in cash and gold hidden away with some of it spread in secret accounts across the world, including in Zimbabwe.

A row has now broken out over what will happen to the tyrant's body next, with his surviving family members demanding it is released so he can be afforded a traditional funeral with 24 hours. His widow Safia has also backed international demands for an inquiry into his killing.

Reports last night suggested the National Transitional Council will hand over the dead dictator's corpse to members of his extended family.

Acting prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said today that investigations into who shot Gaddafi were continuing.

Final hiding place: The inside of a concrete tunnel into which Gaddafi and a small number of body guards crawled into once their convoy had been hit

No escape now: Gaddafi is surrounded by rebels waving AK-47s and walked across the barren desert. His left arm has been wounded, possibly when his convoy of 80 jeeps was hit by air raids

Last gasps of breath: A handgun is pointed at Gaddafi as he lays bleeding on the floor of an ambulance. The next time he was seen in public he was dead
He gave his own account of the likely events leading up to the death of the former Libyan leader.

He said: 'It seems that he was involved in a battle between the Qatari security brigades of Gaddafi and the freedom fighters. And he was hiding in some sort of a sewage tube.

'One of the mercenaries, he's a Mauritanian, when he was caught he told the freedom fighters that Gaddafi was hiding in the tube,' said Mr Jibril.

'So they went there and they brought him out and they were taking him to that truck to take him to a field hospital.

'On their way they got in crossfire between the freedom fighters and the security brigades. He was shot in the head. We don't know whether he was shot by the freedom fighters or the security brigades.'

A local military commander in the city of Misrata, where the force which captured him took his body, said 'over-enthusiastic' fighters took matters into their own hands when they came face to face with their former ruler.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: 'We wanted to keep him alive but the young guys, things went out of control.'

However, few people in Libya say they are troubled by the manner of his death.



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