Libyan provisional authority officials say the body of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi has been buried in an unmarked grave in a secret location.
The officials said Gadhafi, his slain son Mutassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Younis were buried early Tuesday during the same ceremony.
Gadhafi’s body had been on public display since Friday in a commercial refrigerator in the port city of Misrata, where residents lined up to see it.
On Sunday, Libyan doctors performed an autopsy on Gadhafi’s body in the city of Misrata and said he died of gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen during last week’s takeover of Sirte. Cellphone video shows provisional government fighters taunting and beating a wounded Gadhafi shortly before he died.
Libyan officials said the former leader was shot in a crossfire between his loyalists and provisional government forces. Fighters on the scene have acknowledged beating the ousted leader after his capture.
Meanwhile, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) official says there are vast stockpiles of unsecured weapons in warehouses near Sirte, where Gadhafi was captured last week.
Peter Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director, said the weapons include tank and mortar rounds, precision-guided bombs and surface-to-air missiles. He said investigators saw no security at two recently inspected sites that were being looted.
Bouckaert said he is concerned that pro-Gadhafi supporters in Libya’s new government could use the weapons to start an “Iraq-style” insurgency, explaining that tank and mortar shells can be used to build roadside bombs.
HRW has warned the National Transitional Council (NTC) and NATO for months about the dangers of unguarded weapons.
On Monday the group also asked Libyan authorities to investigate a possible mass execution of suspected Gadhafi supporters during the battle for Sirte. The group says it found the bodies of 53 people who appear to have been executed in an area that was controlled by NTC fighters at the apparent time of the deaths about a week earlier.
NTC chairman: Talks to wind down
NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Monday he hopes that talks to form a new interim government will end in about two weeks. He also attempted to reassure Western powers that Libya’s new leaders are “moderate Muslims.”
On Sunday, Jalil said Islamic Sharia law will be the main source of legislation for Libya, that laws contradicting its tenets will be nullified, and that polygamy will be legalized.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday the international community wants a democracy in Libya that meets human rights standards and serves to unify the country. She said it is “time to move on” in Libya, and for the laws to fully respect the rights of women and minorities.
Jalil also said the NTC has ordered an investigation into Gadhafi’s death, after the U.S. government, rights groups and others called for the probe.
Also in Sirte, officials and residents said a fuel tank explosion Monday killed at least 50 people.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.