This Oct. 20, 2015, will mark four years since the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi died in still mysterious circumstances as his convoy was leaving his hometown of Sirte in central Libya while NATO-backed rebels closed in.
There is no reliable account of how or why he died, but Human Rights Watch (HRW) believes that his convoy was first bombed by a NATO airplane, forcing him and about 250 of his most loyal companions to seek shelter.
An amateur video showed a wounded Gadhafi alive while being loaded into a pickup truck to be taken to Misrata some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Sirte, and later he was announced dead.
Libyan authorities never fully investigated this crime despite promises to do so, and no official account of what really happened was ever published. The rebel credited with Gadhafi’s capture, Omran Bin Shaaban, died under unclear circumstances while receiving treatment in France in 2012.
Gadhafi’s death will go down as a landmark, and certainly as a bad one. It hardly represents any of the ideals aspired to by a nation that had just emergd from violence and war on the heels of the Libyan revolution, which was supposed to bring back justice and the rule of law, among other hopes. This all leads to a simple question: Is Libya better without Gadhafi?
Most Libyans would like to have seen him tried before a court of law and be made to answer many questions only he could have answered. After all, Gadhafi ruled for over four decades. But even more Libyans today, including middle-rank former rebel leaders, think he was killed for the very reason he should have been tried: so that he wouldn't be given an opportunity to talk.
Hassan, a former rebel leader who does not wish to use his real name fearing reprisals, told Al-Monitor that “Gadhafi’s death is certainly not what we wanted, but I believe local and foreign politicians wanted him dead because the man knows too much.” Having him talk could have created a serious political embarrassment for many regional and world leaders.