Video: Libya euphoric as Gadhafi’s body lies in freezer

  1. Transcript of: Libya euphoric as Gadhafi’s body lies in freezer

    KATE SNOW, anchor: It was just 24 hours ago we were focused on Libya on this broadcast and the death of Moammar Gadhafi . Tonight, celebrations and questions about what happens now. NBC 's Adrienne Mong is in Misrata again tonight. Adrienne :

    ADRIENNE MONG reporting: Good evening, Kate . Well, as you can see and most definitely hear behind me, people here on Freedom Square in Misrata celebrating day one of a post Gadhafi Libya . It was also another day of remarkable scenes here with the Libyan people viewing the body of the former dictator. Hundreds of Libyans, mostly men, rushed to a former shopping mall in Misrata to view the corpse of the man they'd feared for decades. Why did you come here?

    Unidentified Man #1: To see this man, this very bad man.

    MONG: Rebel forces had laid his badly wounded body on the floor of a commercial freezer; and, as we saw firsthand, they kept the crowd moving. Questions remain about exactly how he died shortly after he was captured, wounded but alive. Today the interim government's prime minister came to Misrata to see the body for himself and declared that an autopsy had been completed.

    Mr. MAHMOUD JIBRIL (Interim Prime Minister): Today the fight is going to be

    simply to......you know.

    MONG: And officials now say Gadhafi 's burial, originally planned for today, in keeping with Islamic custom, would be delayed. NATO, which launched the airstrike that stopped Gadhafi 's convoy in its tracks yesterday said today it's ending its operations in Libya .

    Mr. ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (NATO Secretary General): We have taken a preliminary decision to end Operation Unify Protector on the 31st of October.

    MONG: In the streets of Misrata , another remarkable sight, thousands of women turned out. And there was celebration in Tripoli , Libya 's capital, no longer in the shadow of a tyrant.

    Unidentified Man #2: It's there, the finish is good. It's very nice.

    Unidentified Woman: Actually, finally! Finally we get the freedom. Do you know that? Do you that feeling that you can say everything that you wanted.

    MONG: Along with the euphoria, there's growing reflection here as Libyans now contemplate a future many thought they'd never see. Formal declaration of Libya being liberated is now scheduled for Sunday, Kate , in Benghazi . And as one man here told us,

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 10/21/2011 7:29:19 PM ET 2011-10-21T23:29:19

Moammar Gadhafi's blood-streaked body was stashed in a commercial freezer at a shopping center Friday as Libyans tried to figure out where and when to bury the hated leader.

As citizens lined up in Misrata to view the body, the top U.N. rights chief raised concerns that Gadhafi may have been shot to death after being captured.

Also muddled was the fate of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the only Gadhafi son who stayed in Libya and reportedly survived after his father's Aug. 21 ouster. It appeared Friday that he was still at large: Some government ministers had said he was wounded and in custody in a hospital in the city of Zlitan, but a military official at the hospital, Hakim al-Kisher, denied he was there.

Interim government officials moved ahead on plans to "liberate Libya." The liberation was moved from Saturday to Sunday in the city of Benghazi, often referred to as the cradle of the revolution that overthrew Gadhafi, and not in the capital Tripoli, interim government officials told Reuters.

Meantime, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that the alliance had taken a preliminary decision to end its seven-month mission in Libya on Oct. 31. He said the formal decision would come next week.

Earlier, the top NATO commander, Adm. Jim Stavridis, had said in an announcement on his Facebook page that he would recommend conclusion of the mission. "A good day for NATO, a great day for the people of Libya," Stavridis wrote.

Public display of fallen leaders' bodies a tradition

Burial on hold, bullet to the head

In Misrata, residents crowded into long lines to get a chance to view Gadhafi's body, which was laid out on a mattress on the floor of an emptied-out freezer at a local shopping center. The body had apparently been stowed in the freezer in an attempt to keep it out of the public eye, but once the location was known, that intention was swept away in the overwhelming desire of residents to see the man they so deeply despised.

Men, women and children filed in to take their picture with the body. The site's guards had even organized separate visiting hours for families and single men.

"We want to see the dog," some chanted.

Image: A grab from a video showing capture of Moammar Gadhafi
AFP - Getty Images
A grab from a video taken from the mobile phone of a National Transitional Council fighter shows the capture of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte, Libya, on Thursday.

Gadhafi's 69-year-old body was stripped to the waist, his torso and arms streaked with dried blood. Bullet wounds in the chest, abdomen and left side of the head were visible.

The bloody siege of Misrata over the summer instilled a particularly virulent hatred of Gadhafi there — a hatred now mixed with pride because he was captured and killed by fighters from the city.

New video posted on Facebook showed revolutionary fighters dragging a confused-looking Gadhafi up the hill to their vehicles after his capture and less than an hour before he was killed. The young men scream "Moammar, you dog!" as their former leader wipes at blood covering the left side of his head, neck and left shoulder.

Gadhafi gestures to the young men to be patient, and says "What's going on?" as he wipes fresh blood from his temple and glances at his palm. A young fighter later is shown carrying a boot and screaming, "This is Moammar's shoe! This is Moammar's shoe! Victory! Victory!"

Video on Arab television stations showed fighters pushing him onto the hood of a pickup truck. One fighter held him down, pressing on his thigh with a pair of shoes in a show of contempt.

Fighters propped him on the hood as they drove for several moments, apparently to parade him around in victory.

Video: McCain: Gadhafi should have been tried (on this page)

"We want him alive. We want him alive," one man shouted before Gadhafi was dragged off the hood, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance.

According to a translation by Britain's Sky News, Gadhafi yelled at the revolutionaries. "What you are doing is not allowed in Islamic law," he reportedly said. "What you are doing is forbidden in Islam!"

'Shut up, dog'
Celebratory gunfire is heard in the video aired by Sky News and at one point a gun is pointed at the dictator's head.

"Do you know right from wrong?" Gadhafi added on the video shortly before he appears to lose consciousness.

"Shut up, dog," one of the former rebels responded.

The video on Sky News later shows a dead Gadhafi being photographed and filmed in the street.

Other footage showed fighters rolling Gadhafi's lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.

His body was then paraded on a car through Misrata, a nearby city that suffered a brutal siege by regime forces during the eight-month civil war that eventually ousted Gadhafi, as crowds in the streets cheered.

Video: Libya euphoric as Gadhafi’s body lies in freezer (on this page)

'Very disturbing'
Gadhafi's family, most of whom are in Algeria or other nearby African nations, issued a statement calling for an investigation into how Gadhafi and another of his sons, Muatassim, were killed. In the statement on the pro-Gadhafi, Syria-based TV station Al-Rai, they asked for international pressure on the NTC to hand over the bodies of the two men to their tribe.

The United Nations' human rights office also called for a full investigation.

"It is unclear how he died. There is a need for an investigation," U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

"It is a fundamental principle of international law that people accused of serious crimes should if possible be tried. Summary executions are strictly illegal. It is different if someone is killed in combat," he added.

Referring to separate cell phone images showing a wounded Gadhafi first alive and then later dead amidst a jumble of anti-Gadhafi fighters after his capture on Thursday, he added: "Taken together, they were very disturbing."

In Tripoli, joy over Gadhafi's end spilled into a second day as thousands converged on central Martyrs' Square for Friday prayers and celebrations. Men danced and hoisted the country's new red-green-and-black flag.

"It's the start of a new era that everybody hopes will bring security and freedom," said Tarek Othman, a computer specialist. "I hope democracy is the path we take so all of these Libyans who have sacrificed will really feel free."

He stood with his wife — who wore a cap in the revolution's colors over her all-encompassing black niqab — in the square, which was formerly known as Green Square and was used by Gadhafi to stage rallies against the uprising.

Khaled Almslaty, a clothing vendor, said he wished Gadhafi had not been killed after being captured.

"But I believe he got what he deserved because if we prosecuted him for the smallest of his crimes, he would be punished by death," he said. "Now we hope the NTC will accelerate the formation of a new government and ... won't waste time on irrelevant conflicts and competing for authority and positions."

Video: Libya celebrates the death of Gadhafi (on this page)

It's a tall order after nearly 42 years of rule by one man, who often acted according to whims and tolerated no dissent. Libya's new leaders have stressed the need for reconciliation, but many factions are eager to have their say after years of repression.

The Western-backed NTC, a collection of former rebels, returned exiles, technocrats and Islamists, has always been united behind its goal of ousting Gadhafi. Now the group must overcome divisions and competing self-interests to rebuild the oil-rich North African nation, which was stripped of institutions under Gadhafi.

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The NTC said interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will formally declare liberation on Sunday in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolution began in mid-February. Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has promised to resign, saying he will not be part of any new government and will instead turn his attention to fighting corruption.

The transitional council has asked the United Nations "to play a significant role" in helping them write a constitution, hold elections and build democratic institutions, said Ian Martin, the U.N. envoy to Libya.

"No one should underestimate in this moment of celebration in Libya how great are the challenges that lie ahead," he said. He also warned of "a major challenge in the future of those of the fighters who don't wish to return to previous civilian occupations."

Gadhafi was killed when revolutionary fighters overwhelmed him and the last of his loyalists in his coastal hometown Sirte, the last bastion of his regime to be captured after weeks of heavy fighting.

Authorities have promised to bury Gadhafi in accordance with Islamic traditions calling for quick interment, but Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said the burial was delayed because officials were debating "what the best place is to bury him."

Mohamed Sayeh, a senior member of the governing National Transitional Council, said that Gadhafi's burial had been delayed until his death can be examined by the International Criminal Court.

Account of the capture
According to most accounts from fighters on the ground and their commanders, Gadhafi and his loyalists were in a convoy trying to flee when NATO airstrikes hit two of the vehicles. Then revolutionary forces moved in and clashed with the loyalists for several hours.

Slideshow: Conflict in Libya (on this page)

Gadhafi and his bodyguards fled their cars and took refuge in a nearby drainage tunnel, where they were captured.

Most accounts agree that Gadhafi died from wounds 30 to 40 minutes later as an ambulance took him to Misrata. But accounts differ over how he suffered those wounds.

Most commanders and fighters at the scene with whom The Associated Press has spoken say that when he was captured, Gadhafi already was fatally wounded. In the videos of his capture, however, he has blood on his head, but none on his chest or abdomen. At one point, his shirt is pulled up to his chest, but no wound is visible.

Shammam said Gadhafi was wounded after his capture. "It seems like the bullet was a stray and it could have come from the revolutionaries or the loyalists," Shammam said.

Other fighters, commanders and witnesses have not spoken of any such crossfire or further clashes. Siraq al-Hamali, a 21-year-old fighter, told AP that he rode in the vehicle carrying Gadhafi as it left Sirte. He did not mention coming under fire and said Gadhafi died en route of wounds he already had.

Video: The reign of Moammar Gadhafi (on this page)

Even reports of the coroner's conclusions were confused over which wound was fatal — some said it was the shot to the head, others said it was a shot to the liver.

Muatassim, who had been his father's feared national security adviser, was captured alive separately in Sirte, and how he died also remains unknown.

In a video aired Friday on Al-Rai, the 34-year-old Muatassim, wearing a bloodied undershirt, sits on a mattress in a room with fighters around him. He takes a swig of water and smokes a cigarette as he argues with at least one man who accused him of robbing the country and abusing its sons.

The fighter then orders Muatassim to say "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great" before the video cuts to a segment with Muatassim lying subdued on the mattress with his forearm on his forehead. He also appears to check for an injury on his collar bone. The last scene is of Muatassim lying dead, apparently in a hospital, with a huge gash in his chest.

The Associated Press, Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Photos: Moammar Gadhafi

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  1. Col. Moammar Gadhafi is seen in Tripoli on Sept. 27, 1969, after leading a military coup that toppled King Idris. Gadhafi has maintained his rule over Libya for more than four decades since the coup. Gadhafi was killed in Sirte on Oct. 20 as revolutionary forces took the last bastion of his supporters. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Gadhafi, left, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser, right, arrive in Rabat, Morocco, in December 1969 for the Arab Summit Conference. (Benghabit / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Col. Gadhafi, left, jokes with a group of British hippies in Tripoli in July 1973. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Gadhafi was purportedly a major financier of the Black September movement, a band of Palestinian militants. Its members perpetrated the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. One of the Black September guerrillas who broke into the Olympic Village is seen in this picture. (Keystone via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Gadhafi during the summit of the Organization of African Unity on Aug. 4, 1975, in Kampala, Uganda. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Flowers are laid at the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher, a British police constable who was shot dead by terrorists in April 1984 while on duty during a protest outside the Libyan embassy in London. Fletcher's death led to an 11-day police siege of the embassy and a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Libya and the United Kingdom. (Fox Photos via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Gadhafi and his second wife Safiya wave to the crowd upon their arrival in Dakar, Senegal, for a three-day official visit on Dec. 3, 1985. Gadhafi has eight biological children, six by Safiya. (Joel Robine / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. U.S. Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, fourth from left, and West Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen, fifth from left, inspect the damage following an April 5, 1986, bombing at a Berlin discotheque frequented by American serveicemen. Libya was blamed for the blast, which killed three and injured more than 200. Then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan retaliated by ordering airstrikes against the Libyan capital of Tripoli and city of Benghazi. (Wolfgang Mrotzkowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. French policemen and army soldiers unload crates of arms and ammunition seized aboard the Panamian merchant ship Eksund on Nov. 3, 1987 at Brest military port in France. A huge supply of arms and explosives purportedly supplied by Libya and destined for the Irish Republican Army was found aboard the vessel. (Andre Durand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. This Dec. 22, 1988, photo shows the wreckage of the Pan Am airliner that exploded and crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people - most of them Americans. Gadhafi has accepted Libya's responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families. Libya's ex-justice minister was recently quoted as telling a Swedish newspaper that Gadhafi personally ordered the bombing. (Letkey / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, right, welcomes Gadhafi upon his arrival at Tunis airport on Jan. 10, 1990. (Frederic Neema / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is escorted by security officers in Tripoli on Feb. 18, 1992. Al-Megrahi was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon. (Manoocher Deghati / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, left, accompanies Gadhafi on a tour at the pyramids of Giza on Jan. 19, 1993. (Aladin Abdel Naby / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. An Egyptian border policeman counts passports belonging to Palestinians waiting at the post in Salloum for transit to the Gaza Strip on Sept. 12, 1995. Families were stranded at the border with Libya after Gadhafi decided to expel 30.000 Palestinians, reportedly in order to call attention to the political situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. (Amr Nabil / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Libyan women bodyguards provide security for VIPs during a military parade in Green Square on Sept. 1, 2003, to mark the 34th anniversary of Gadhafi's acension to power. (Mike Nelson / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Family members of people killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, read documents on Sept. 12, 2003, as the U.N. Security Council votes to lift sanctions against Libya for the 1988 bombing. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, flew to Libya in 2004 to hold talks with Gadhafi inside a Bedouin tent. Here, Blair and and Gadhafi stroll to a separate tent in Tripoli for lunch during a break in their talks. Blair's role was particularly vital in Gadhafi's international rehabilitation. He praised the leader for ending Libya's nuclear and chemical weapons program and stressed the need for new security alliances in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (Stefan Rousseau / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. U.S. President George W. Bush looks at material and equipment surrendered by Libya, during a tour of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee on July 12, 2004. Bush officially lifted the U.S. trade embargo against Libya on Sept. 20, 2004. (Tim Sloan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. View of the remains of Gadhafi's bombed-out headquarters, now turned into a living memento, inside his compound in Tripoli on Oct. 15, 2004. The sculpture in the center represents a golden fist grabbing a U.S. jet fighter. U.S. jets bombed Tripoli, killing Gadhafi's adopted 4-year-old daughter, in April 1986 in retaliation for the Berlin discotheque bombing. (John Macdougall / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is welcomed by Gadhafi in Tripoli on July 25, 2007. Sarkozy arrived for a meeting with the Libyan leader a day after the release of six foreign medics from a Libyan prison. (Patrick Kovarik / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Gadhafi's son Saif, center, attends a ceremony in the southern Libyan city of Ghiryan on Aug. 18, 2007, to mark the arrival of water from the Great Manmade River, a project to pipe water from desert wells to coastal communities. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Gadhafi looks at a Russian-language edition of his book "The Green Book" during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 17, 2008, in Tripoli. Putin was in Libya for a two-day visit to rebuild Russian-Libyan relations. (Artyom Korotayev / Epsilon via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Gadhafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pose for a picture after signing an agreement in the eastern city of Benghazi on Libya's Mediterranean coast on Aug. 30, 2008. Berlusconi apologized to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signed a $5 billion investment deal by way of compensation. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Gadhafi poses with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prior to a meeting in Tripoli on Sept. 5, 2008. Rice arrived in Libya on the first such visit in more than half a century, marking a new chapter in Washington's reconciliation with the former enemy state. (Mahmud Turkia / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Gadhafi attends the closing session of the Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar, on March 30, 2009. (Marwan Naamani / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Gadhafi waves after delivering a speech during a meeting with 700 women from the business, political and cultural spheres on June 12, 2009, in Rome. The Libyan strongman drew cheers and jeers when he criticized Islam's treatment of women but then suggested it should be up to male relatives to decide if a woman can drive. (Christophe Simon / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. U.S .President Barack Obama shakes hands with Gadhafi during the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, on July 9, 2009. (Michael Gottschalk / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, top left, is accompanied by Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi, son of the Libyan leader, upon his arrival at the airport in Tripoli on Aug. 20, 2009. Scotland freed the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, allowing him to die at home in Libya despite American protests that he should be shown no mercy. (Amr Nabil / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. The president of the U.N. General Assembly, Ali Abdussalam Treki, top center, listens in apparent misery as Gadhafi speaks on Sept. 23, 2009, at U.N. headquarters in New York. It was Gadhafi's first appearance before the U.N., and he emptied out much of the chamber with an exhaustive 95-minute speech in which he criticized the decision-making structure of the world body and called for investigations of all the wars and assassinations that have taken place since the U.N.'s founding. (Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Gadhafi greets Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during the plenary session at the Africa-South America Summit on Margarita Island on Sept. 27, 2009. Chavez and Gadhafi urged African and South American leaders to strive for a new world order countering Western economic dominance. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak during a group picture of Arab and African leaders ahead of the opening of the second Arab-African summit in the coastal town of Sirte, Libya, on Oct. 10, 2010. Ben Ali and Mubarak were driven out of power by popular revolts in 2011. (Sabri Elmehedwi / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Gadhafi is followed by members of the press in Tripoli before making a speech hoping to defuse tensions on March 2. Gadhafi blamed al-Qaida for creating turmoil and told applauding supporters there was a conspiracy to control Libya and its oil. (Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Libyan rebels step on a picture of Gadhafi at a checkpoint in Tripoli's Qarqarsh district on Aug. 22. Libyan government tanks and snipers put up a scattered, last-ditch effort in Tripoli on Monday after rebels swept into the heart of the capital, cheered on by crowds hailing the end of Gadhafi's 42 years in power. (Bob Strong / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A man in Tripoli holds a photo said to be of Moammar Gadhafi after the announcement of the former leader's death, Oct. 20, 2011. Gadhafi was killed when revolutionary forces overwhelmed his hometown, Sirte, the last major bastion of resistance two months after the regime fell. (Abdel Magid Al-fergany / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: TO GO WITH AFP PACKAGE ON THE 40TH ANNIV
    AFP - Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (34) Moammar Gadhafi through the years
  2. Image: A photo said to show people gathering during recent days' unrest in Benghazi, Libya. The content, date and location of the image could not be independently verified.
    AP
    Slideshow (81) Conflict in Libya

Gallery: Gadhafi's children

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