Report: Muammar Qaddafi May Have Been Executed By Rebels

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A report from Human Rights Watch claims there is evidence that militia groups executed dozens of supporters of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi following his capture last year, and that Qaddafi himself may have been among those murdered while in custody.

According to the 50-page report published on their website today, there are new details to back up claims made by the group last year. Using interviews and video taken from those involved in the final battle with Qaddafi's forces, HRW says there is compelling evidence that at least 66 members of the former dictator's convoy were captured near the town of Sitre in October of 2011. Investigators later found the remains of 53 people at the Mahari Hotel who appeared to have been murdered and not killed in battle. The fighters had been shot, many with their hands still tied behind their backs. 

HRW has also uncovered numerous examples of individuals from that group who were seen alive, in custody, and later found dead. The organization has obtained a cell phone video that shows many of those who eventually turned up dead being verbally and physically abused while in custody. 

Among those who were captured was one of Qaddafi's sons, Mutassim, who Human Rights Watch believes was taken by the militia to their home base in Misrata (after being wounded in battle) and killed there.

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The official story behind Qaddafi's death was that he was wounded in battle, captured, and then killed in the crossfire when the rebels came under attack from his own army. Though they don't have direct evidence to disprove that story, Human Rights Watch believes it is highly suspect, given that fact that so many of the other men captured with him appeared to been summarily executed. Even at the time of his capture there were also several videos showing Qaddafi being physically abused by those, leading to many conflicting reports about exactly how and when he died.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.