Libyan Woman Bursts Into Journalists’ Hotel To Tell Of Rape; Taken Away By Libyan Security
A woman who gave her name as Eban al-Obeidy burst into a hotel housing the foreign press in Tripoli saying she had been raped by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. She ran into the Rixor Hotel to attempt to get help.
“…look at what the Qaddafi men did to me.” She displayed a broad bruise on her face, a large scar on her upper thigh, several narrow and deep scratch marks lower on her leg, and marks that seemed to come from binding around her hands and feet.
She said she had been raped by 15 men. “I was tied up, and they defecated and urinated on me,” she said. “They violated my honor.”
She pleaded for friends she said were still in custody. “They are still there, they are still there,” she said. “As soon as I leave here, they are going to take me to jail…”
Ms. Obeidy said she was a native of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi who had been stopped by Qaddafi militia on the outskirts of Tripoli. After being held for about two days, she said, she had managed to escape. Wearing a black robe, a veil and slippers, she ran into the hotel here, asking specifically to speak to the Reuters and The New York Times. “There is no media coverage outside,” she yelled at one point.
“They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whiskey. I was tied up,” she told Michael Georgy of Reuters, one of the journalists able to speak with her briefly. “I am not scared of anything. I will be locked up immediately after this.” She added: “Look at my face. Look at my back.” Her other comments were captured by television cameras.
Security forces, with the aid of hotel staff, threatened Ms. Obeidy and the journalists with knives and a revolver, before the woman was whisked out, put into a car and driven away. The Libyan government, after first claiming she was mentally ill, seemed to reverse itself.
Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said she appeared to be drunk and mentally ill. “Her safety of course is guaranteed,” he said, adding that the authorities were investigating the case, including the possibility that her reports of abuse were “fantasies….”
In a news conference held Saturday night, Mr. Ibrahim said that Ms. Obeidy was in the custody of Libyan police detectives, who were treating her as a sane person with a credible criminal case of abduction and rape. “It is a criminal case, not a political case,” he said, promising that it would be investigated to full extent of the law and that she would have a chance to meet again with journalists.
Charles Clover of the Financial Times is seen in this video trying to stop security forces from taking her away. He was put into a van and driven to the border shortly thereafter.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Liberaland