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LIBYA: Woman allegedly raped by Kadafi troops leaves Benghazi for the U.S.

June 5, 2011 |  6:28 pm

Libyaiman

The Libyan woman who caused international controversy when she claimed she was raped by Kadafi troops has left Libya for the United States, her sister told the Associated Press on Sunday.

Marwa Obeidi said her sister Iman left Benghazi early Sunday morning, but it was not immediately clear where in the U.S. she was flying.

"We just want a chance for her to be treated psychologically and to rest. My sister has just been through so much," Marwa Obeidi told the Associated Press.

"Iman locked herself in her room in Doha and refused to leave the house. She would get nightmares and fall off the bed," said her mother, Aisha bin Ismail.

In March, Obeidi burst into Tripoli's Rixos Hotel, where foreign correspondents had been forced to stay while covering Kadafi's regime.

She claimed she had been stopped at a checkpoint, kidnapped and gang-raped by Kadafi's soldiers. As reporters watched, the Libyan government officials responsible for escorting them approached and dragged Obeidi away.

She disappeared for days afterward, surfacing in Tunisia and later Qatar, where she was suddenly expelled Thursday and sent to Benghazi.

Marwa Obeidi told the Associated Press that a human rights group aided by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arranged for Iman and their father to travel in a private plane to Washington by way of Malta and Austria.

The U.S. State Department had expressed concern for Obeidi's safety after she was deported from Qatar.

Meanwhile, Libyan authorities in Tripoli have dismissed Obeidi as a drunk, a prostitute and a thief.

"Iman constantly felt scared and threatened even in Benghazi," said her mother. "She was worried that at any moment Kadafi's men would be near to kill her."

Marwa Obeidi told the Associated Pres that her sister's top priority in the U.S. would be to receive psychological treatment and to continue her studies.

"I am sure they will greet her with such warmth and kindness," she said. "We are happy for her."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Photo: Iman Obeidi, seen in Tripoli in March, said she was gang-raped by Kadafi troops. Credit: Mohamed Messara/EPA

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