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Libyans Celebrate Freedom In Benghazi Rally

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PHILIP HAMMOND LIBYA
PA

Libyans held a rally in Benghazi to celebrate their freedom on Sunday - four days after Colonel Gaddafi was killed. Interim leader and National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil addressed the crowns in the recently-renamed Freedom Square, and declared "national liberation".

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the downfall of Gaddafi was a "historic victory".

“We welcome the NTC’s confirmation that they will form an inclusive Transitional Government and work towards democratic elections. The Libyan people now have the chance to work together in a new political process, leading to a pluralistic and open society under the rule of law. That opportunity is within their grasp and we urge them to seize it, avoiding retribution and reprisals and ensuring that national reconciliation and reconstruction go hand in hand. The work to ensure long term peace and prosperity in Libya is just beginning. We are proud of everything we have done to assist so far, and stand ready to help the Libyan people in the future.

“NATO will continue to enforce UNSCR 1973 for as long as is necessary to protect civilians against the threat of violence from remaining pro-Gaddafi forces.”

The celebration came after Philip Hammond said the Libyan government "will want to get to the bottom" of Colonel Gaddafi's killing after the dictator's death "stained" the country's reputation.

Speaking on Sunday morning the defence secretary said: "It is certainly not the way we do things. It is certainly not the way we would have liked it to happen. We would have liked to see Gaddafi going on trial at the International Criminal Court to answer for his misdeeds, not only in Libya, but of course the many acts of terrorism that he supported and perpetrated which we in Britain have a disproportionate number of victims.

"I think that the fledgling Libyan government will understand that its reputation in the international community is a little bit stained by what happened on Friday and I think it will want to get to the bottom of it in a way that cleanses that reputation", he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

Meanwhile Libya's former foreign minister has been traced to a luxury resort in Qatar, according to reports. Musa Kusa is believed to have been an intelligence officer at the time of the 1988 Lockerbie bomb atrocity in which 270 people were killed.

He made a high-profile defection to Britain in March and was interviewed by police and Scottish prosecutors investigating the bombing. He left the country following an EU decision to lift sanctions against him, meaning he no longer faces travel restrictions or an asset freeze. Kusa was traced by the BBC's Panorama programme, which is investigating allegations that he tortured political prisoners in Libya.

He declined to comment on the claims.

Gaddafi was captured alive by NTC troops following a Nato air strike on a convoy outside his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. Video footage showed him bloodied, dragged through the streets, pushed and pulled by his jubilant captors.

"Don't shoot, don't shoot," he pleaded. Dazed, wounded and wiping blood from his face the 69-year-old questioned his captors: "What did I ever do to you?"

Soon after, he was dead.

Footage of his final moments were captured on mobile phones and broadcast around the world.

According to Jibril, Gaddafi was shot in crossfire between NTC fighters and pro-Gaddafi forces.

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