Military commanders in the city of Misrata said yesterday that no post-mortem would be carried out on the body of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi despite concerns over how the ousted strongman died.
“There will be no post-mortem today, nor any day,” Misrata military council spokesman Fathi al-Bashaagha said. “No one is going to open up his body.”
His comments were confirmed by two other Misrata military commanders.
Bashaagha said the new regime’s military commander for the capital, Abdelhakim Belhaj, was expected to travel to Misrata later yesterday to view the corpse of the man who ruled Libya with an iron rod for 42 years.
However, he said there were no immediate plan for National Transitional Council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil to visit.
“Abdel Jajil did not come yesterday and is not coming today, and for the moment it is not expected that he will come,” Bashaagha said.
Qaddafi’s body has been stored in a freezer in a Misrata market since it was brought to the city on Thursday following his death in still unexplained circumstances during the fall of his hometown Sirte.
Overnight, the body of Qaddafi’s son and national security chief, al-Mutassim Billah, who also died during the fall of Sirte, was brought to the same makeshift mortuary and laid out beside him.
Dozens of curious Misrata residents lined up yesterday morning to view the two bloodied bodies laid out on mattresses on the floor.
Abdel Jalil, however, told reporters in Benghazi that Qaddafi’s death was being investigated without any reference to a post-mortem examination.
“Yes,” he answered when asked if the case was being investigated.
He declined to take any further questions during a visit to injured fighters in a hospital.
Meanwhile, despite the confusion over the circumstances in which Qaddafi was killed, a picture of the events is emerging. Faced with suspicions of an execution by a lynch mob, the order that “nobody here killed Qaddafi” has gone around to the fighters who captured alive the former strongman.
Omran Shaaban, 21, said he was the first to locate the man who ruled Libya for four decades in a concrete drainage pipe.
“When I saw him, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think. I thought: ‘That’s it, Qaddafi is finished,’” he said.
Ahmed Gazal, a comrade, said they had just arrived to join a final assault on Sirte when they ran into a group of survivors from a NATO air strike on a convoy of pro-Qaddafi fighters trying to make an escape.
After a brief exchange of gunfire, they were informed of Qaddafi’s hiding place in the pipe.
“Omran was close to Qaddafi. He grabbed him first, then I said Allahu Akbar [God is great] and I took his legs outside ... When he came out of the pipe, he said: ‘What’s going on, what’s happening?’” Gazal said.
“When I was face to face with him, I thought about all his crimes. I thought he was a big character, but in fact he was just a small mouse,” he said, adding that Qaddafi was bloodied and weak when found.
In the mobile footage, Qaddafi is seen being manhandled by a group of fighters as he is dragged off to the pickup. Shaaban said he was then taken to an ambulance for transfer to Misrata.
A young fighter from the rebel bastion of Benghazi claimed in a video posted on the Internet on Friday that he had captured Qaddafi and shot him twice, fatally wounding him.
“I fired two bullets at him. One hit under his armpit, the other his head. He did not die immediately. It took him half an hour,” said the youth, identified as Sanad al-Sadek al-Ureibi.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting