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U.N. human rights office calls for probe into Kadafi's death

October 21, 2011 | 10:18 am

Libyans line up to view Moammar Kadafi's body
REPORTING FROM MISURATA, LIBYA AND LONDON -- The United Nations' office for human rights said Friday that the mysterious circumstances surrounding former Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's death warrant an official investigation.

"There seem to be four or five different versions of how he died," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. "There are at least two cellphone videos, one showing him alive and one showing him dead. Taken together, these videos are very disturbing."

Officials with Libya's transitional government said Kadafi's funeral would be delayed pending an inquiry and a decision on where to bury the former strongman. Officials had planned to bury Kadafi on Friday, in accordance with Islamic tradition, which generally calls for interment within 24 hours.

PHOTOS: Moammar Kadafi | 1942 - 2011

Residents of the coastal city of Misurata, which endured a deadly siege by Kadafi loyalists, lined up Friday to get a look at Kadafi's blood-streaked body, which was laid out on a mattress in a refrigerated room previously used to store produce at a market.

The body was brought to Misurata on Thursday after fighters from the city captured Kadafi in the fall of his hometown, Surt.

Colville said there needs to be "an investigation ... to ascertain whether Kadafi was killed in the fighting or after his capture."

International rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also called for an inquiry.

A commission on Libya already set up by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council will probably look into Kadafi's death, but other institutions could be involved.

Colville urged Libyans to let justice be served through free and fair trials. Victims of violence during the uprising and throughout Kadafi’s 42-year rule "have the right to know the truth, to see the culture of impunity brought to an end and to receive reparations."


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-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Misurata and Henry Chu in London

Photo: Libyans cast shadows as they line up to view Moammar Kadafi's body at a market in Misurata on Friday. Credit: Manu Brabo / Associated Press