Video: Post-Gadhafi transition begins in Libya

  1. Transcript of: Post-Gadhafi transition begins in Libya

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: So much history begin written in the Middle East this week. In Libya tonight, they're getting ready for liberation day tomorrow, marking the official end of the Gadhafi regime and the death of the man who held power for more than four decades. NBC 's Adrienne Mong is there for us tonight.

    Unidentified Man #1:

    ADRIENNE MONG reporting: For the second day in a row, they came from around the country to Misrata to see the body of their former dictator, Moammar Gadhafi 's corpse lying in a commercial freezer. NBC News has learned Gadhafi 's body will be buried tomorrow in a private location. Leaders of the interim government say they're still investigating the exact cause of his death amidst growing international questions over whether he was executed by rebel forces or died in crossfire as the prime minister has said.

    Mr. CLAUDIO CORDONE (Amnesty International): How he died matters because if Libya is to break away from the abuses of the past, that one clear signal would be that the new authorities are absolutely determined to ensure respect for human rights.

    MONG: Here in Misrata , many Libyans think otherwise.

    Unidentified Man #2: This -- what Libyan want see Gadhafi is dead. That's my dream.

    Unidentified Man #3: Victory for people, for Libyan people. So we are so happy here.

    MONG: More details have emerged about his last weeks on the run. A trusted aide captured with Gadhafi said the late leader never actually took part in the fighting, preferring to read or talk on his satellite phone. One of his sons, Saif al-Islam remains at large. In the meantime, the post- Gadhafi transition has begun. The prime minister says an election will be held within eight months for a national council that will draft a new constitution and form an interim government. The celebrations taking place across the country the past two days are continuing through the weekend, gearing up for the big day tomorrow, when the first chapter of a new Libya opens with the official announcement in Benghazi of the nation's liberation. Adrienne Mong, NBC News, Misrata , Libya .

msnbc.com news services
updated 10/22/2011 1:03:00 PM ET 2011-10-22T17:03:00

Libya's new leaders will declare liberation on Sunday, officials said, a move that will start the clock for elections after months of bloodshed that culminated in the death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

But the victory has been clouded by questions over how Gadhafi was killed after images emerged showing he was found alive and taunted and beaten by his captors.

The long-awaited declaration of liberation will come more than two months after revolutionary forces swept into Tripoli and seized control of most of the oil-rich North African nation. It was stalled by fierce resistance by Gadhafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and pockets in the south.

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Sirte was the last to fall, but Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent and many of his fighters have apparently escaped, raising fears they could continue to stir up trouble.

With Gadhafi gone, however, the governing National Transitional Council was moving forward with efforts to transform the country that was ruled by one man for more than four decades into a democracy.

NTC officials had said the announcement would be made Saturday in the eastern city of Benghazi, the revolution's birthplace. But spokesman Abdel-Rahman Busin said preparations were under way for a Sunday ceremony instead. He didn't give an explanation for the delay.

Story: In his last days, Gadhafi wearied of fugitive’s life

The transitional leadership has said it would declare a new interim government within a month of liberation and hold elections for a constitutional assembly within eight months, then to organize a parliamentary and presidential vote within a year after that.

On Saturday, acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who has said he plans to resign after liberation, said the interim government "should last until the first presidential elections."

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on the Jordanian shores of the Dead Sea, he also said the NTC must move quickly to disarm rebels who helped to overthrow Gadhafi's nearly 42-year-old regime. He said it was a priority to ensure huge caches of weapons are turned in over the "next few days."

Story: Rebels: Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam captured alive

Jibril also said the Libyan people must remember the agony of the past and choose a different path for the future. He said he was "relieved" after Gadhafi's ouster, describing it as a "great moment in my life."

Gadhafi's blood-streaked body has been put on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata as Libyan authorities argued about where to bury the remains.

'I am happy': Libyans line up to see Gadhafi's body

Fighters from Misrata — a city brutally besieged by regime forces during the civil war — seemed to claim ownership of Gadhafi's body, forcing the delay of a planned burial Friday.

Fathi Bashagha, a spokesman for the Misrata military council, said a decision will be made Saturday but he ruled out a full autopsy unless demanded by an international committee or the transitional government "and so far there have been no requests."

At least four groups of doctors have examined the body and determined the cause of death was a bullet to the head and stomach, Bashagha said. "As far as we are concerned in Misrata, doctors have checked him and determined how he died, so there is no need to cut his body up," he said.

Video: Post-Gadhafi transition begins in Libya (on this page)

The bloody siege of Misrata during the spring instilled a particularly virulent hatred of Gadhafi there — a hatred now mixed with pride because he was captured and killed by fighters from Libya's third-largest city, 125 miles southeast of Tripoli.

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 vegetable freezer. 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.

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Men, women and children filed in to take their picture with the body, with some chanting "We want to see the dog."

The site's guards had even organized separate visiting hours for families and single men.

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.

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

Despite the international concern, fighters in Misrata put the bodies of Gadhafi's son Muatassim and his ex-defense minister Abu Bakr Younis on display in the freezer as well on Saturday, although they covered the corpses with blankets so only their faces were visible.

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

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the images of his last moments were very disturbing.

"More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture," Colville said.

The Associated Press and Reuters 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

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