In the most definitive account to date of his final moments, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Gaddafi was injured by shrapnel from a hand grenade that exploded yards from him as he tried to escape his home town of Sirte.
He was then stabbed in the rear with a bayonet by one of his rebel captors, causing catastrophic loss of blood, the report says. The former dictator may already have been dead by the time a bullet was apparently fired into his head.
The report also says that rebels executed Gaddafi’s son Muttasim and dozens of their followers.
The doctor who later carried out the post mortem examination on 69-year-old Gaddafi was threatened with death in order to keep his findings quiet, it says.
HRW researchers worked for a year to compile today’s report, which is based on video evidence and witness accounts of the dictator’s last moments. The group said it had obtained raw, unedited mobile phone footage of the three minutes and 38 seconds that followed his capture.
As they led him on to a main road, one of the fighters stabbed Gaddafi with a bayonet, while others assaulted him, before he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the city of Misurata, a trip of two hours.
“Video footage, obtained by Human Rights Watch, taken at the scene of his capture appears to show Muammar Gaddafi’s nearly naked and apparently lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance, suggesting that he may have been dead by the time he left the area of his capture,” the report says
Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture.”
Of the remaining 150 members of the convoy, up to 66 Gaddafi loyalists were shot and killed at the Mahari Hotel just outside the city of Sirte. Others were taken to Misurata and killed.