Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi was captured and killed in October, following a year of unrest in the region which had begun with revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Jamal Harisha, 51, moved from Libya to Britain in the 80s, and is a consultant surgeon at Northampton General Hospital. He tells how he risked his life to return for Muammar Gaddafi's last stand.
I was visiting my family in Tripoli for Christmas when the Tunisia uprising began. Although Libya too had become intolerable, no one I spoke to thought it could happen there. Anyone even considering action against the regime would be found out and killed.
So I couldn't believe it in February when I saw on television young men tearing down the Green Book statue in front of the military HQ in Benghazi. When they were killed, it was clear there was no way back.
As the fighting spread, my friends in Britain set up the Libyan Doctors Relief fund to get help to towns which had been besieged.
In August, when the fighting reached Tripoli, I knew it was time for me to go back. I flew to Tunisia and met up with several other doctors. Libyan volunteers had bought nine ambulances which we drove overland across the border, past the blackened shells of tanks on the roadsides.
Although Tripoli had officially been liberated it was not 100 per cent free. Gaddafi's compound was secure and his supporters were still inside.
We arrived after sunset and the streets were almost deserted apart from the rebels on the checkpoints. People were greeting our ambulances with victory signs, but some stopped us and told us to avoid certain roads. It was really frightening. Ambulances had been attacked and there's always the fear a sniper may get you.
Eventually I reached my family's home and was greeted by my friends and relatives. There was no electricity and they were eating their breakfast in candlelight.
The next day the rebels attacked Gaddafi's main headquarters in the centre of Tripoli.
I went to the central hospital, not far from his compound. We treated a lot of young men who had lost legs and arms in the fighting. Others had head injuries. The medical team were doing their best to give first aid but the casualties needed more serious treatment and medicines and equipment were not available. It was a very sad scene.
The doctors didn't have the training to cope. They lacked organisation so we were there to guide them. I operated on a number of casualties including one young man of 23 who had a bullet in his arm.
The day after the compound had been liberated, I was asked to go to a military base outside the city that belonged to one of Gaddafi's sons. When we arrived we saw the scene of a massacre.
About 150 rebel fighters had been captured and put in a cage. When the militia fled they set fire to the cage, - burning them alive.
I also went to the private hospital inside Gaddafi's compound used by his troops. Compared to the public hospital, it was unbelievable. They had everything - modern clinics, two operating theatres, a gym, a cosmetic studio, and store cupboards full of medicines.
I spent a week in Tripoli before returning to work in the UK but flew back out in October, and was there when they captured Gaddafi.
By then, the difference in the country was simply amazing. My daughter always described Tripoli as being like Gaddafi's family album - there were so many pictures and statues of him. But they had all been removed, burned or destroyed. Then it hit me, the Libyans are free.
I saw the boy whose arm I had treated. His wound had healed nicely and he looked OK. Other patients were getting rehabilitation for lost limbs, some were getting treatment abroad.
On the day Gaddafi was captured, it was the sort of celebration you can't imagine. The joy was unbelievable.
The streets were packed with cars and people. They were firing guns into the air, beeping car horns in celebration, mothers were giving out sweets. It was an unforgettable, unbelievable day.
In a strange sense I was a little disappointed by the way Gaddafi was caught and killed. We thought of him as the leader, the thinker, but he was hiding in a sewage tube. That doesn't mean I don't think he deserved what happened to him, I just thought with his money and power, he would have been able to survive.
The interim government can't be expected to set everything straight immediately. Libyan people don't have any experience of democracy, it will take time.
The first thing they have to do is control the militia, the young men with machine guns on the streets. They have to set up a national army, establish the civilian police force and restore law and order. Then they need to draw up a constitution and hold elections.
When I was last there, people weren't ready to talk politics. They wanted water, food and money but that will change and I would like to be able to return and stand as an MP in a democratically-elected Libyan parliament. It is something I never ever dreamed would be possible in my lifetime.
Dr Jamal Harisha was talking to Simon Freeman.
More in our 'I was there' series
'I travelled 3200 miles to see the Royal Wedding'
'I helped to clear up after the London riots'
'I set up camp at St Paul's Cathedral'
'I was tear-gassed in Cairo'
'I was in Tokyo when the quake hit'
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