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The Gadhafi Prize For Human Rights: In Its Final Year?

Moammar Gadhafi's government has been accused of killing Libyan citizens in the days since protesters began a round of passionate demonstrations against him. And more than 140,000 refugees have either left the country or are trying to do so now.

So it may come as a surprise that since the 1980s, Libya has awarded an annual prize it calls the "Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights."

As All Things Considered co-hosts Melissa Block and Michele Norris discuss in today's show, the prize has its own website — but it seems like the site was last updated in 2005. Here's its heading:

"As the sun shines for everyone, freedom is a right for everyone."

The list of people who've received the prize, which includes a cash award of $250,000, includes some notable names — from Fidel Castro (1998) and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (2004) to Louis Farrakhan (1996) and Nelson Mandela (1989).

From the show:

The list also includes some vague groups: The "Children of stones in Occupied Palestine". That's a direct quote from the site.

And another: "The Red Indians (for the struggle of the Indian Nation)".

Last year's winner was the prime minister of Turkey, Recep Erdogan.

But that may be the last time anyone wins the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.