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LIBYA: Eman al-Obeidy tells in TV interview of being raped, beaten by Kadafi men

April 8, 2011 |  9:09 am

Picture 8The horrying story of Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman who says she was raped by Moammar Kadafi's militiamen, gripped the world and made the law school graduate the face of the movement against Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.

Two weeks after Al-Obeidy burst into a Tripoli hotel to try to tell journalists that she was gang raped by Libyan leader Kadafi's militiamen, she's been speaking out about her harrowing ordeal and criticized the Libyan authorities in an interview with CNN aired on the network earlier this week.

During the interview, which was faciliated by Kadafi's son Saadi and held at his office in Tripoli, she recounted her abduction and talked about how she was brought to the house of a Kadafi soldier where drunk soldiers were roaming around. There, they beat, raped and tortured her, she says.

"I was brutally tortured to the point of them entering weapons inside me. They would also pour alcohol in my eyes," she told CNN.

At the time of the interview most of Al-Obeidy's bruises had apparently gone away but she said that she made sure to take photos with the camera on her phone to use as evidence in case people didn't believe her.

"People have blamed me for showing my body," she said. "I was depressed and there was no way to show people how I was tortured."


 She went on to lash out at the Libyan authorities, accusing them of cruelness and lawlessness -- apparently even in the presence of Saadi Kadafi.

"I wanted to defend myself because they did not even give me the right to respond," she said.

She previously told CNN that the statements from government officials and an anchor on Libyan state TV, who first dismissed her as a mentally sick person, a drunkard and a prostitute, ruined her reputation and she was determined to clear her name of such smear campaigns during this week's interview with the network.

"Everything they said about me is a lie," she said. "Just because I raised my voice and talked to the media they blamed me and questioned my sanity. Nonetheless, I want my rights, even without the media."
International human rights groups have called on Libyan authorities to stop their attempts to discredit Al-Obeidy's name and denounced news that the same security officials whom Al-Obeidy has accused of raping her have filed a civil suit against her.
"It is simply outrageous that Eman al-Obeidi is now being targeted by the very officials whom she has accused, with the apparent approval of the Libyan authorities,” Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a recent news release.
“This looks to be nothing but an attempt at face-saving by the government. Instead of carrying out this smear campaign, they should release her and independently investigate her allegations," his statement continued.
When Al-Obeidy tried to tell journalists at the Rixos hotel in Tripoli two weeks ago about the alleged gang rape she was subject to, she was briskly dragged off the property by government officials and minders as she shouted her allegations of rape and abuse. She was allegedly beaten again and put in jail and had her phone taken away, she says.

She previously told CNN that was she interrogated for three consecutive days after being dragged away from the hotel and spoke about how interrogators threw food at her and poured water on her while they questioned her. She was released only after a doctor examined her and it was proven she had been subject to rape and torture.

During this week's interview, Al-Obeidy asked for three things, according to CNN-- that she be permitted to clear her name, that her abusers are brought to justice and that she can go back to the eastern city of Tobruk to be reunited with her family. 

More than half a million people have signed an online petition that calls for Al-Obeidy's safe return to her family and thousands have clicked on a page on Facebook to show support for her.

--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Eman al-Obeidy during an interview with CNN earlier this week. Credit: CNN. Video: Amateur footage showing Al-Obeidy being dragged away from journalists at a Tripoli hotel in March. Credit: YouTube