How Gaddafi Died: The Interim Prime Minister's Version

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Luc Gnago / Reuters / Landov

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2007

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As hundreds of thousands of Libyans poured into the streets on Thursday, ecstatically rejoicing Gaddafi's death, the details of his demise seemed almost an afterthought. In interviews around Tripoli over the past two days, many Libyans said they hoped Gaddafi would be killed, or at the very least tried in Libya, where he almost certainly would have received a death sentence.

How Gaddafi died, Jibril said in the interview, "for Libyan people, it does not matter, so long as he vanishes from the scene." However, Jibril, a U.S.-educated economist, said he himself felt disappointed that Gaddafi would not face his day in court. His death, he says, "means a lot. It was a very, very long nightmare. The Libyan people were deprived of real development."

Looking drawn and thin, Jibril sat slumped in an armchair, clearly fatigued. One day after telling a public meeting of journalists and Libyan officials that he was resigning as Prime Minister, he told TIME that he needed medical treatment though he did not indicate what kind. Instead of running Libya's hugely complex transition to democracy, he said he would instead throw his energies into rebuilding "civil organizations," focusing on women and education.

There are other urgent needs too, Jibril says. Chief among them now, for the new government, is piecing together a united country, which has been battered by decades of dictatorship and an eight-month civil war. Disparate armed militias, representing Libya's east and west, have said they will insist on key portfolios within the new government as reward for their role in the war.

In addition, Jibril said the new government will have to ward off any temptation by Libyans to exact revenge on Gaddafi's old loyalists, after decades of repression. He conceded that it might not be easy. "There must be transitional justice," he says. "People should not resort to reprisals, they must go the courts. If your property has been confiscated under Gaddafi, if someone in your family has been killed, or been imprisoned, let justice take its course."

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