The getaway vehicle of Libya’s ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi is currently on display in the coastal town of Misrata in close proximity to Gaddafi’s body, which is being stored in a commercial freezer nearby.
Both Gaddafi’s body and his getaway green 4 x 4 are awaiting investigation concerning the cause of his death; both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Britain’s Defense Secretary Philip Hammond have said that a full investigation into the ex-dictator’s death is necessary.
The circumstances surrounding Gaddafi’s death are still being disputed among Libya’s rebel forces and the transitional government. Officials are adamant that the tyrant was not executed but killed in cross-fire with his own supporters. However, numerous other reports have indicated that he was likely executed by a rebel mob that had formed around him when they had realized whom they had captured.
There is also controversy surrounding the burial. Although the National Transitional Council announced they would respect Muslim burial rights, which would see them bury Gaddafi’s body within 24 hours, his body still remains in a disused commercial freezer, with hundreds lining up to see his dead body, which has gone on public display.
The U.N. High Commission for Human Rights is calling for an investigation.
“More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture,” said UNHCR spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement.
Libya’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has reported that according to the forensics report, Gaddafi was shot once in the arm when found in the sewer tunnel, and then shot in the head in transit from the tunnel to the hospital.
According to Libya's chief forensic pathologist Dr. Othman al-Zintani, who performed the autopsy on Gaddafi, death is attributed to both abdomen and head bullet wounds.
“When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head',” Jibril said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
“The forensic doctor could not tell if it came from the revolutionaries or from Gaddafi's forces," he added.
Jibril then went on to add that Gaddafi died minutes before reaching the hospital.
Others argue that Gaddafi, after being dragged through the streets outside Sirte, was assassinated while in custody, by a bullet to the head.
Regardless of Gaddafi’s cause of death, cell phone videos circulating YouTube show Libyan rebels pushing and prodding the dying, bloody body of the ex-dictator while dragging him through the streets of his hometown.
“It’s certainly not the way we do things, it’s not the way we would have liked it to have happened,” Hammond said in a statement.
“The fledgling Libyan government will understand that its reputation in the international community is a little bit stained by what happened,” he added.
According to a Senior NATO official, ex-dictator Muammar Gaddafi was wounded in an air strike that took place Thursday morning. In the airstrike, a French Mirage Jet and a U.S. predator drone fired weapons, including a Hellfire missile, into Gaddafi's convoy. Gaddafi's green getaway vehicle was damaged in the attack.
It has been claimed that Gaddafi escaped the air attack with injuries, fleeing by foot and taking refuge with his body guards in a nearby concrete sewer tunnel located in a drainage ditch, where he was found by the Misrata Military Council.
Gaddafi, who led Libya for 42 years, remained in hiding since rebel forces seized the capital of Tripoli and only emerged to call upon his loyalists to take back the country from “devils and traitors.”
Although he was ousted from power in late August, Gaddafi loyalists continued to resist the new Libyan government, prolonging an eight month civil war and halting the country’s political progression.
The media is circulating footage of Libyans celebrating the death of Gaddafi. Transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil declared an official end to the eight month civil war and Libya’s liberation on Sunday in Benghazi.
“This revolution was looked after by God to achieve victory,” he told the massive crowd of thousands which gathered to celebrate.
Although the public remains ecstatic to form a new, free government in Libya, demands for a thorough investigation concerning Gaddafi’s death remain prevalent in the international community.