Several videos have emerged showing Gadhafi was alive when he was captured and taunted and beaten by revolutionary fighters in Sirte. The Boston-based international news site GlobalPost posted a video showing Gadhafi's captors ramming a stick into his buttocks through his pants.
Guma al-Gamaty, a London-based spokesman for the National Transitional Council, said Abdul-Jalil had an obligation at the dawn of a new era to assure Libyans that Islam will be respected.
"This doesn't mean that Libya will become a theocracy. There is no chance of that whatsoever. Libya will be a civic state, a democratic state and, in principle, its laws will not contradict democracy," he said.
It is the kind of assurance Western powers that supported the anti-Gadhafi fighters with airstrikes and diplomatic backing may have been looking for.
In Washington, Nuland stressed the importance of creating "a democracy that meets international human rights standards, that provides a place for all Libyans and that serves to unify the country."
She said the U.S. was encouraged that Abdul-Jalil clarified his earlier statements on the topic, but hedged on an overall U.S. assessment of systems based on Sharia.
"We've seen various Islamic- based democracies wrestle with the issue of establishing rule of law within an appropriate cultural context," Nuland said. "But the No. 1 thing is that universal human rights, rights for women, rights for minorities, right to due process, right to transparency be fully respected."