Moammar Gadhafi is dead. His 42-year reign in Libya officially ended months ago, but symbolically ended on Thursday, when Libyan fighters captured him hiding in the city of Sirte.
Gahdafi was brought to a hospital in Misrata, which has issued an official death certificate for Gadhafi. The man who once called himself the King of Africa will be buried at a secret location, according to reports. Currently, his body is sitting in cold storage in Misrata along with that of his son Mutassim.
He will receive his [rites] like any Muslim. His body will be washed and treated with dignity. I expect he will be buried in a Muslim cemetery within 24 hours, commander Abdul-Salam Eleiwa told Reuters.
Bloody photos and shaky video of Gadhafi's capture and death were displayed to the world on Thursday, but the actual details of what happened between Gadhafi, alive, and being pulled from a sewage pipe and his body arriving in Misrata are still unclear.
The National Transitional Council has offered a number of different stories. Interim Prime Minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil claimed that Gadhafi was discovered with only minor injuries, then loaded onto a Misrata-bound truck. As the truck sped away, loyalist fighters fired machine guns at the NTC fighters, unknowingly hitting Gadhafi, who died from his wounds en route.
This would fit with medical examiner Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz's conclusions after seeing the body. Abdel-Aziz determined that Gadhafi died from two bullet wounds, to the head and chest, The Associated Press reported.
You can't imagine my happiness today. I can't describe my happiness, the doctor told the AP. The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest.
But, another medical examiner who looked at Gadhafi's body had a different idea about what happened, one which paints a much darker picture. According to doctor Ibrahim Tika, the two bullet wounds were the result of an execution that likely took place on the truck.
Gaddafi was arrested while he was alive but he was killed later. There was a bullet and that was the primary reason for his death, it penetrated his gut, he told Al Arabiya television. Then there was another bullet in the head that went in and out of his head.
Both of these narratives differ slightly than the ones from those who actually got their hands on Gadhafi. An 18-year-old revolutionary fighter named Ahmed Al Shebani, now famous in the U.S. for wearing a Yankees hat, first claimed that he had found and killed Gadhafi.
Shebani told reporters that he shot Gadhafi in the shoulder after discovering the former leader inside the pipe. Gahdafi was apparently armed with a golden pistol, which Shebani later confiscated.
Other fighters told Reuters that Gadhafi was hiding with four bodyguards, one of whom surrendered.
One of Gadhafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me, NTC fighter Salem Bakeer said.
Then I think Gadhafi must have told them to stop. 'My master is here, my master is here', he said, 'Moammar Gadhafi is here and he is wounded.' We went in and brought Qaddafi out. He was saying 'What's wrong? What's wrong? What's going on?' Then we took him and put him in the car.
The bodyguards were later found dead, according to The Daily Mail.
The newest videos of Gadhafi's capture don't shine much light on the subject. Nothing can be certain, but it seems that after Gadhafi is found, he is released into a group of revolutionary fighters, who swarm him. RTNews has translated some of the shouting, and claims that under the cries of Allahu Akbar, someone says we need him alive.
“It looks [like] there was an element of mob rule in this, and he was indeed killed in the back of the truck,” British MP Jeremy Corbyn told AP.
“And this really does raise some question marks about the command and discipline of the NTC forces and what Libya is going to be like, not just tomorrow, but next month, next year and the next ten years.
Both Amnesty International and the United Nations are now calling on Libyan leaders to conduct a full investigation into Gadhafi's death.
More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture, said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The two cell phone videos that have emerged, one of him alive, and one of him dead, taken together are very disturbing.
You can't just chuck the law out of the window, he told the AP. Killing someone outside a judicial procedure, even in countries where there is the death penalty, is outside the rule of law.
Whatever happened, the capture and death of Gadhafi is good for the Libyan people. Brutality aside, it is probably better for Libya that Gadhafi died in battle. One of the many lessons learned from the Egyptian uprising is that while trials are immensely important -- and certainly more just than a roadside execution, which should never, ever happen -- they stall the rebuilding process.
Egyptians had to wait months for former President Hosni Mubarak to be tried. The delay infuriated many of the former protestors who had fought against police and government forces for a month. Protests started anew, and although the Mubarak trial has commenced, there is still significant unrest in Cairo.
With Gadhafi gone, the NTC can now begin to form Libya's new government and new future. However, an investigation is necessary if Libya is to have a truly clean start.