BENGHAZI, Libya — Libya's interim government, under mounting international pressure, said Monday that it will request an investigation of the death of Moammar Gadhafi, but authorities continued to insist that the former leader was not executed by revolutionary forces.
Speaking a day after declaring the country officially "liberated" from Gadhafi's four-decade rule, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the National Transitional Council, said the interim governing body has formed a committee to decide what to do with the corpse. A wounded Gadhafi was captured Thursday while trying to hide in a drainage pipe a few miles west of his final stronghold in Sirte. His body turned up hours later with a fatal gunshot to the head.
The saga of Gadhafi's body may finally be coming to an end, after days in which it was displayed in a frozen-food locker in the city of Misrata, as thousands of people filed by to gape. A military spokesman in the city told the Associated Press that the body had been moved in anticipation of burial, which could occur today.
Because Gadhafi's death was so popular in Libya, an impartial investigation of it is considered highly unlikely. Abdul-Jalil did not give any details about who will conduct the inquiry.
Meanwhile, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said Monday that 53 apparent Gadhafi supporters appeared to have been executed on the lawn of an abandoned hotel in Sirte last week.
The group called on the Transitional Council to "conduct an immediate and transparent investigation into the apparent mass execution and to bring those responsible to justice."
The group also said its investigators found at least 95 bodies at the site where Gadhafi was captured.