Entries in Burial (5)


Only Man Convicted in Lockerbie Bombing, Buried in Libya

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/GettyImages(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- The only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was buried Monday in Tripoli.  Just under a hundred family members and friends attended the funeral of Abdelbaset al Megrahi, who was buried at Zarwani cemetery, Tripoli's main burial grounds on the outskirts of the Libyan capital.

Many thought al Megrahi, 60, wouldn't last this long.  Terminally ill with cancer, he was released on "compassionate grounds" in Scotland 2 1/2 years ago.  Al Megrahi was the only person convicted in 2001 for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, in which 270 (189 American) people were killed over Lockerbie, Scotland.  He served his sentence in Scotland until his release.

Until he died Sunday, Al Megrahi -- an ex-intelligence official -- always claimed innocence and said he had nothing to do with the deadly terror attack.  British and American investigators had recently pushed to continue probing the case in Libya, but officials in that country insisted any new exploration would have to be carried out under Libyan control, according to The New York Times.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, however, set aside any calls for a new inquiry into al Megrahi's conviction in the wake of his death and reiterated his belief that al Megrahi was indeed guilty.

"This has been thoroughly gone through," Cameron said, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. "There was a proper process, a proper court proceeding.  We have to give people the chance to mourn those that were lost."

Cameron added, according to a New York Times report, that al Megrahi should never have been released by the Scottish government and repeated what he said during a U.S. visit two years ago -- that the Lockerbie bombing was "an appalling act of terror."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gadhafi Buried in Secret Location after Viewing of Body Is Halted

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(MISRATA, Libya) -- Moammar Gadhafi was buried Tuesday in an unmarked grave at a secret desert location, five days after he was shot to death outside the Libyan city of Sirte.  Gadhafi's son, Muatassim, and his former army chief were also laid to rest in the same unknown spot.

The burial came after Libya's new government decided Monday to halt the public viewing of Gadhafi's body, which was held in cold storage in the city of Misrata.

According to witnesses, the bodies of Gadhafi, his son and his army chief were turning dark and leaking fluids, and people were administered face masks to kill the stench of rotting flesh.

Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years, was seized last Thursday by rebels who had just overrun his hometown of Sirte.  During his capture, the 69-year-old dictator was roughed up and then killed by a single gunshot to the head.

Under Islamic law, Gadhafi should have been buried 24 hours after his death.  But due to his notoriety and the fact that Libya is now under the control of the National Transitional Council, Gadhafi's body was put on display as proof that he was indeed gone for good.

Four sheiks were on hand to witness Tuesday's burial and then swore on the Quran never to reveal where the unmarked graves are located.  The decision was made after talks with Gadhafi's tribal kinsmen from Sirte about what to do with the three bodies and what compensation would be received in turn broke down.

NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel-Jalil also promised an investigation into Gadhafi's death and raised the possibility that he might have been killed by one of his own men to prevent Gadhafi from turning over names of other former Libyan government officials who could be tried for war crimes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden Sea Burial Video May Be Released

Photo by CNN via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Video of Osama bin Laden's dead body being dropped into the North Arabian Sea from the USS Carl Vinson early Monday morning could be made public, according to officials.

The world's most notorious terrorist did not receive a customary Islamic burial as he was slipped into the North Arabian Sea Monday when no other countries would accept his body, according to experts in Muslim funeral rites.

"Dumping the body into the sea is not part of any Islamic ritual," said Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a physician of internal medicine. "Koranic scripture says God created him and he must return to the earth."

U.S. officials told ABC News that the last thing they wanted was to create a burial place which could become a terrorist shrine. To avoid that, bin Laden was buried at sea.

Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan said earlier Monday that the administration would likely release an image of bin Laden's body. He added that they would do so carefully as "we don't want to do anything to compromise our ability to be successful the next time we get one of these guys and take him off the battlefield," he said.

The corpse was taken to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, officials told ABC News. The ceremony, performed according to Islamic law, began about 1:10 a.m. Monday EST and lasted about 45 minutes, according to officials.

Traditional washing of the body was followed by wrapping in white sheets. A military officer read religious remarks that were translated by a native Arabic speaker, then bin Laden was eased into the sea. Officials said no other alternatives were available.

Khalid Latif, chaplain at New York University and director of its Islamic Center, said Islamic law is "flexible" in how it handles burial, especially in this case. The question would be not "how to bury a body, but how Osama bin Laden's body would be buried."

He said the government's approach was reasonable -- letting bin Laden's body "wash back and forth in the sea."

"If we think about burying him in the ground, there are multiple scenarios," he said. "The problem is people don't want him buried near them or their loved ones. Giving him a place on land would create an opportunity for many individuals to unleash and lash out their rage against him. He made lives terrible for so many of us."

Officials were also worried that having a burial site might become a place where his sympathizers would "glorify" his acts, according to Latif.

"There are people who believe that this man was someone to look up to, even though he distorted our teachings and grossly misinterpreted Islam," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden's Body Buried at Sea, Official Says

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In accordance with Islamic law, the body of Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea, a U.S. official told ABC News.

Officials said the last thing they wanted is for bin Laden's burial place to become a terrorist shrine.  In order to avoid that, his body was laid to rest at sea, leaving no definitive location for the final resting place of his body.

The al Qaeda leader was killed by U.S. forces Sunday in Pakistan.

Prior to bin Laden's burial, a senior administration official told ABC News, "We are ensuring [the body] is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.  It's something we take seriously and therefore it's being handled in an appropriate manner.‬"

Under Islamic tradition, the body is to be washed by Muslim men and buried as soon as possible, usually by the next prayer -- Muslims pray five times a day -- although there may be delays under certain circumstances.  The body is usually buried in a simple white sheet, whether buried in the ground or at sea.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Funeral, Burial Held for Assassinated Pakistani Minister

Jewel Samad/AFP/ Getty Images(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan)  -- The Pakistani minister for minorities affairs who died because he fought for tolerance will be buried Friday.  And as his coffin is lowered into the ground, Pakistanis wonder if there’s anyone left who will speak for the country’s most oppressed.

"Today is a very sad day," said Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, during the funeral for Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated by gunmen in Islamabad Wednesday.  "The founding father of Pakistan had one wish: he taught the people of Pakistan to give the rights and protection to the minorities… People like him are very rare.  All the minorities have lost a great leader."

After the funeral, which was held in Islamabad, Bhatti's body was flown to his hometown, where his family will bury Pakistan’s most senior Christian politician.

As Gilani spoke inside Islamabad's best known church, dozens of Christians wailed and chanted psalms on the road outside, flanked by hundreds of police and Western security officials.  It was the largest security showing for an event in Islamabad in the last year.  Inside, Gilani was joined by the U.S. ambassador and other senior Western diplomats.

Bhatti spoke for Christians -- who make up five percent of Pakistan's largely Muslim population -- and all of Pakistan's minorities.  He was killed because he wanted to change laws and attitudes used to persecute -- and even kill -- members of those minorities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio