Gadhafi's Body Displayed At Private House

The dead body of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was on display today in a private house in the rebel stronghold of Misrata. Reporter Marine Olivesi was there and tells Melissa Block the home was crowded with Libyans eager to take a photo with the corpse of their former leader.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host: I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with the death of a dictator.

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BLOCK: Shaky video broadcast on Al-Jazeera shows men in the Libyan city of Sirte jostling around the body of Moammar Gadhafi. He's lying shirtless and bloodied on the ground.

SIEGEL: Gadhafi ruled Libya for 42 years, a regime of extreme brutality. Today, his opponents said that chapter has been closed.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Through Translator) We announce to the world - we announce to the world the - that Moammar Gadhafi has been killed.

BLOCK: That announcement came from Libya's Transitional National Council. Celebration erupted in Tripoli, and here in Washington, D.C., President Obama said this is a momentous day in the history of Libya.

President BARACK OBAMA: The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted, and with this enormous promise, the Libyan people now have a great responsibility: to build an inclusive and tolerant and democratic Libya that stands as the ultimate rebuke to Gadhafi's dictatorship.

SIEGEL: The circumstances of the Libyan leader's death remain unclear. We know there was heavy fighting in Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown and stronghold. Video has circulated of him captured alive but injured, and leaders of the new Libyan government say he was shot and killed in a gun battle between his captors and his supporters.

BLOCK: Gadhafi's body was taken from Sirte to the city of Misrata, and that's where we've reached freelance reporter Marine Olivesi. Marine, I gather, you saw the body of Moammar Gadhafi.

MARINE OLIVESI: The bodies of both Moammar Gadhafi and his son Mutassim Gadhafi have been brought to an individual house about 15 minutes drive from the center of Misrata. It's really unclear how he ended up there. It's been very difficult to look at him exactly. There were several rumors about his location, but we saw him in the main hallway of that private house. His body is lying on a mattress. There are people around trying to take pictures with him. It's clear that he was injured to the chest. He received several gunshots to the chest. He is lying there just with pants on, and, again, people crowding around, trying to get a picture of themselves with the dead body of Moammar Gadhafi.

BLOCK: And the people who are crowding around, Marine, these are people who live in Misrata? These are fighters?

OLIVESI: These are all people from Misrata. A lot of them have been fighting. People in Misrata, it has a specific meaning to them that the body was brought here because, as one of the Misrati here told me, they have been waiting for that moment for so long, and the town has suffered so much through the Libyan revolution.

I mean, one person beside me couldn't wait to get a picture with Moammar Gadhafi so that he can show his mom because he lost two brothers in the siege of Misrata, and that would mean a lot to his mother to see for herself the dead body of Moammar Gadhafi. So there's a sense of closure, it felt like it, for a lot of people here, for who the death of Moammar Gadhafi marks the end of those eight months and the end of the Libyan revolution.

BLOCK: I've been talking with freelance reporter Marine Olivesi. She's in the Libyan city of Misrata, where the body of Moammar Gadhafi was taken today. Marine, thank you very much.

OLIVESI: You're welcome.

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