The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil declared Sunday the end of Libya's eight-month-long war and set out a vision for a post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya that will have an Islamist tint.
We are an Islamic country, Abdul-Jalil said. We take the Islamic region as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.
Islamic Sharia law would be the basic source of legislation in the country and existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam will be nullified, Fox News reported Abdul-Jalil saying.
He outlined several changes to align with Islamic law, including putting caps on interest for bank loans and lifting restrictions on the number of wives Libyan men can take. The Quran, the Muslim holy book, permits men to have up to four wives.
Urging Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, Abdul-Jalil called on them to instead chant Allahu akbar, or God is Great. He then stepped away from the podium and knelt to offer a prayer of thanks.
This revolution was looked after by God to achieve victory, he told the crowd at the declaration ceremony in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising against Gadhafi started. This revolution began peacefully to demand the minimum of legitimate rights, but it was met by excessive violence.
President Barack Obama congratulated Libyans on the declaration.
After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise, he said. We look forward to working with the NTC and an empowered transitional government as they prepare for the country's first free and fair elections.
On Sunday, an autopsy confirmed that Gadhafi died from a gunshot wound to the head, Libya's chief pathologist, Dr. Othman al-Zintani, said, though not disclosing whether the findings revealed if the gunshot wound was from close-range or in crossfire. That question has the United Nations and human rights groups calling for an investigation into the last moments of the Libyan dictator's life.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Britain's new defense secretary, Philip Hammond, said a full investigation is necessary.
Clinton told NBC's Meet the Press that she backs a proposal that the UN investigate Gadhafi's death and that Libya's National Transitional Council also look into the circumstances.
Hammond said the Libyan revolutionaries' image has been a little bit stained by the Libyan dictators death, adding that the new government will want to get to the bottom of it in a way that rebuilds and cleanses that reputation.
It's certainly not the way we do things, Hammond told BBC television. We would have liked to see Col. Gadhafi going on trial to answer for his misdeeds.
The autopsy was performed in front of officials from the prosecutor's office at a Misrata hospital, Zentani said, adding that the report will go to the attorney general's office before being released to the public.
On Friday, Gadhafi's family issued a statement, calling on the United Nations and Amnesty International to push Libya's leadership to hand over the bodies of the martyrs of their tribe so they can be buried according to Islamic rites, a pro-Gadhafi TV station reported.
Gadhafi's death Thursday brought an end to an eight-month war backed by NATO, after revolutionary fighters overran his hometown of Sirte, 280 miles east of Tripoli, and found him hiding in a drainage ditch.
Leaders of Libya's interim government have said Gadhafi was killed in crossfire after fighters captured him Thursday, CNN said.
Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch's emergencies doctor, counters that claim, saying fighting had ended when Gadhafi was cornered in a drainage ditch.
When he left the area, he was very much alive, Bouckaert said. There's no reason why he should have been subjected to this kind of mob justice.
Autopsies were also performed on Gadhafi's son, Mutassim, and former defense minister Abu Baker Yunis. The three bodies will likely return to a cold storage unit at a Misrata meat market for public viewing, Zentani said.