THE tribe of slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday called on the National Transitional Council (NTC) to hand over his body to to be buried in their hometown of Sirte according to Islamic rules.
"We call on the UN, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and Amnesty International to force the National Transitional Council to hand over the martyrs' bodies to our tribe in Sirte and to allow them to perform their burial ceremony in accordance with Islamic customs and rules," the statement from the tribe said.
The statement broadcast by the Syria-based pro-Gaddafi television Al-Rai, said relatives demanded that the bodies of Gaddafi, his son Mu'tassim and others who were killed on Thursday be handed over immediately.
The international acclaim for the Libyan revolution is being tempered by growing revulsion at the treatment of the bodies.
As investigations continue into the circumstances of their deaths, their bullet-ridden bodies were still on show, with hundreds of people queuing to see them laid out in a cold storage room in Misrata.
Occasional chants of "Allahu Akbar" ["God is greatest"] were heard from the crowd, but the calls were muted by the face masks worn by onlookers to overcome the smell from the decomposing bodies.
Nearly three days after the Libyan leader was captured and killed, he has still not been buried, contrary to Islamic custom – a fact that appears to be causing divisions within the National Transitional Council, which appeared paralysed by indecision over what to do with the bodies.
One NTC official admitted that the continued presence of Gaddafi in cold storage was a cause of contention.
Gaddafi's widow called from her exile in Algeria for the bodies of her son and husband to be entrusted to her, amid speculation that they could be secretly buried at sea, as in the case of Osama bin Laden, to prevent a burial place becoming a shrine.
Reports that a postmortem would take place at some stage were also quashed by Fathi al-Bashaagha, the Misrata military council spokesman. "There will be no post mortem today, nor any day", he said.
However, the authorities are adamant that it has been necessary to put the dictator and his son on show to reassure the Libyan people.
Oil minister Ali Tarhouni said: "I told them to keep it [the body] in the freezer for a few days... to make sure that everybody knows he is dead".
The UN has called for a full investigation into the circumstances of the dictator's death. Video footage recording the minutes after Gaddafi's capture last Thursday, when his convoy came under Nato and rebel attack, shows an alive but injured Gaddafi pleading for his life.
Footage of his son, Mu'tassim, smoking a cigarette and seemingly only lightly injured shortly before his death has also raised concerns.
The footage has provoked the US into calling on Libya's new authorities to give a full account of the deaths in an "open and transparent manner".