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Qaddafi's secret burial doesn't end controversy over his death

Muammar Qaddafi is now buried in an unmarked desert grave. The circumstances of his death have raised questions about the new government's ability to respect human rights and prevent reprisals.

By Staff writer / October 25, 2011

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Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was buried in an unmarked grave in the country's southern desert at dawn today. Libyan officials said that choosing an obscure burial site will prevent his grave from becoming a shrine for his remaining supporters and from being desecrated by critics.

Mr. Qaddafi's body had been on display for several days in a cold storage locker, which Libyans flocked to in order to see for themselves that he was dead.

Two loyalists in the transitional government were charged with the task of carrying out the burial, Reuters reports. Qaddafi's personal cleric Khaled Tantoush offered the final prayers over the bodies of Qaddafi and his son, Motassim, while still in storage in Misrata.

Associated Press reports that both Motassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Younis were buried with Qaddafi. Relatives and local officials from Misrata attended the burial.

That the burial took place unexpectedly and secretly runs counter to previous reports from NTC officials that they were negotiating with members of Qaddafi's tribe over where and how to dispose of his body, Reuters reports.

Motassim Qaddafi's death has largely allayed concerns of an insurgency led by the members of the family who are still alive. Motassim and his brother Khamis were the two most powerful sons, and without them it is unlikely the family will launch any sort of counter-uprising, according to Reuters. Another son, Saif al-Islam is reportedly hiding in the desert, poised to flee the country, and the NTC is powerless to stop him.

But international concern about the circumstances has not abated with his burial. National Transitional Council officials are still under pressure to conduct an investigation into how Qaddafi died, particularly whether he was executed after being captured alive but wounded in Sirte, or caught in crossfire, as officials claim, according to AP.


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