* With "liberation", Libya launches democracy process
* Regional rivalries loom, clouding disarmament prospects
* Lack of clear Gaddafi burial plan suggests confusion,
(Adds Saadi Gaddafi)
By Brian Rohan and Yasmine Saleh
BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct 23 Libya's new rulers
declared the country freed from Muammar Gaddafi's 42 years of
one-man rule on Sunday, saying the "Pharaoh of the times" was in
history's garbage bin and a future of democracy and
As thousands gathered in Benghazi to hear authorities
announce "liberation", Gaddafi's rotting body remained unburied
and on show in Misrata, a situation that may vex some Muslims
for whom rapid burial of the dead is a religious duty.
His son Saadi, now in Niger, said he was outraged by the
murders of his father and brother Mo'tassim.
There was no direct reference at the Benghazi celebrations
to what some outsiders see as Misrata's ghoulish display.
In a speech, National Transitional Council (NTC) chief
Mustafa Abdel Jalil renewed an earlier promise to uphold Islamic
"All the martyrs, the civilians and the army had waited for
this moment. But now they are in the best of places ... eternal
heaven," he said, shaking hands with supporters.
Some fear Jalil, a mild-mannered former justice minister,
will find it hard to impose his will on his fractious
revolutionary alliance, pointing to Misrata's insistence on
displaying Gaddafi's body and that of Mo'tassim and to the lack
of a clear account about how they met their end.
There is international disquiet about increasingly graphic
and disturbing images on the Internet of abuse of a body that
appears to be Gaddafi's following his capture and the fall of
his hometown of Sirte on Thursday.
But the immediate reaction to Sunday's announcement was
"We are the Libyans. We have shown you who we are Gaddafi,
you Pharaoh of the times. You have fallen into the garbage bin
of history," said lawyer Abdel Rahman el-Qeesy, who announced
the creation of a new government portfolio to deal with victims
of the conflict.
"We declare to the whole world that we have liberated our
beloved country, with its cities, villages, hilltops, mountains,
deserts and skies," said an official who opened the ceremony in
Benghazi, the place where the uprising erupted in February and
which has been the headquarters for the NTC.
Cheering crowds waved the tri-colour flag. U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations would help
build a new Libya. U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the
declaration of liberation.
Gaddafi, who had vowed to fight to the end, was found hiding
in a drain after fleeing Sirte, the last bastion of his
loyalists. He died in chaotic circumstances after video footage
showed him bloodied and struggling at the hands of his captors.
With big oil and gas reserves, Libya has the potential to
become very prosperous, but regional rivalries fostered by
Gaddafi could erupt into yet more violence that would undermine
the authority of Jalil's NTC.
In Misrata, people queueing for a chance to see Gaddafi's
body saw no reason for a rapid burial, apparently heedless of
concern in Tripoli about how the NTC is perceived overseas.
"We brought our children to see him today because this is a
chance to see history," said a man who gave his name as
Mohammed. "We want to see this arrogant person as a lifeless
body. Let all the people see him."
The declaration of liberation is intended to set the clock
ticking on a process to set up a multiparty democracy, a system
Gaddafi railed against for most of his 42 years in power.
Some analysts fear that without strong leadership the
revolution could collapse into armed infighting.
The lack of a clear plan for Gaddafi's burial suggests to
some analysts that there is justification for fears of a descent
into leaderless turmoil.
An autopsy has been performed, and a medical source told
Reuters that Gaddafi's body had a bullet in the head and a
bullet in the abdomen.
"There are multiple injuries. There is a bullet in the
abdomen and in the brain," the medical source said.
The autopsy was carried out at a morgue in Misrata, about
200 km (130 miles) east of Tripoli.
The loosely disciplined militias that sprang up in each town
to topple the dictator with the help of NATO air power are still
armed. The places they represent will want a greater say in the
future, particularly the second and third cities Benghazi and
Misrata, which were starved of investment by Gaddafi.
It was fighters from Misrata who emerged from a lengthy and
bloody siege to play a large part in taking Tripoli and later
British Foreign Secretary (Minister) William Hague and NATO
Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued separate calls
for Libyans to avoid retribution and reprisals and seize a
chance to build pluralism and the rule of law.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking on the NBC
program "Meet the Press", said she would strongly support both a
U.N. and an NTC investigation into Gaddafi's death.
"Stand for unity and reconciliation, make it absolutely clear
that everyone who stood with the old regime, as long as they
don't have blood on their hands should be safe and included in a
new Libya," she said.
There is some unease abroad over what many believe was a
summary execution of Gaddafi. U.N. Human Rights Commissioner
Navi Pillay has called for an investigation into the killing,
but few Libyans share those concerns.
Gaddafi's surviving family, in exile, wants his body and
that of Mo'tassim to be handed over to tribal kinsmen from
Sirte. NTC officials said they were trying to arrange a secret
resting place to avoid loyalist supporters making it a shrine.
Misrata does not want his body under its soil.
Saadi Gaddafi's lawyer said he was "shocked and outraged by
the vicious brutality which accompanied the murders of his
father and brother.
"The contradictory statements issued by the NTC excusing
these barbaric executions and the grotesque abuse of the corpses
make it clear that no person affiliated with the former regime
will receive a fair trial in Libya, nor will they receive
justice for crimes committed against them," lawyer Nick Kaufman
said in an email sent to Reuters.
Libyan leaders have approved a request to open an
investigation into Saadi over the murder of a footballer in
The announcement of "liberation" sets a clock ticking on a
plan for a new government and constitutional assembly leading to
full democracy in 2013.
"We hope we will have an elected democratic government with
broad participation," student Ali Abu Shufa said.
Gaddafi promoted tribalism to keep the country divided, he
said. "But now Gaddafi is dead, all the tribes will be united."
(Additional reporting by Taha Zargoun in Sirte, Barry Malone
and Jessica Donati in Tripoli, Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor in
Misrata, Christian Lowe and Andrew Hammond in Tunis, Samia
Nakhoul in Amman and Tom Pfeiffer at the Dead Sea, Jordan;
Writing by Jon Hemming and William Maclean; Editing by Andrew