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Gadhafi's Death To Be Investigated, Transitional Leader Says

<p>Moammar Gadhafi's body has been kept in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata, Libya.</p>
Manu Brabo

Moammar Gadhafi's body has been kept in a commercial freezer at a shopping center in Misrata, Libya.

"Libya's transitional leader has ordered an investigation into the death of Moammar Gadhafi after the U.S. and other international powers pressed for the probe," The Associated Press reports. It adds that "Mustafa Abdul-Jalil told a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi that the Transitional National Council formed a committee to investigate the killing on Thursday, amid conflicting reports of how the dictator who ruled Libya for four decades died."

As we said on Thursday, the day Gadhafi met his fate, the official line in the hours after the former Libyan leader was captured and killed was that he had been shot in the head during crossfire between his supporters and fighters loyal to the opposition. On Sunday, Libya's chief pathologist said an autopsy had confirmed that the cause of death was a gunshot to the head. But "Dr. Othman al-Zintani ... would not disclose further details or elaborate on Gadhafi's final moments, saying he would first deliver a full report to the attorney general," the AP added.

Widely viewed videos of Gadhafi being roughed up between the time of his capture and the time of his death have lead to calls by human rights groups, the United Nations and others for an investigation into the circumstances.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said on Weekend Edition Saturday, "it's pretty clear that Gadhafi and his son, Mutassim, were executed." But, she added, "there are very few people who wanted to see Gadhafi alive and who wanted to see him face trial, if the people I've spoken to are representative. If you see how contentious his death has been, they say imagine if what would have happened if he had to face trial here. They tell me it would have only prolonged Libya's long nightmare."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday on CNN that "as Libyans move into the future once again, they need to do so with a sense of unity and reconciliation, they need to hold each other accountable. Those who do not have blood on their hands must be made to feel safe and included regardless of whether or not they supported Gadhafi in the past. So we believe in the rule of law and accountability, and such an investigation would contribute to that."

Earlier today, Lourdes reported about the challenges that lie ahead for Libya.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.