Iman Al-Obeidi’s story is a terrible one. She burst into a hotel press conference in Libya a few days ago with her face bloody, saying she had been held hostage by Gaddafi forces for two days, and was gang-raped over and over during those two days. A Libyan minister physically accosted her, with a member of the American press trying to protect her. A female waitress even went after Iman with a butter knife. The video below shows the whole encounter, with her being led away and begging for photographers to take her photo before she disappeared. American Charles Clover, a Financial Times reporter, was ousted from the conference, not so gently, for attempting to help the woman.
Al-Obeidi is a single woman. Her mother says a Gaddafi official contacted her and offered money and a house in exchange for saying she lied about the gang-rapes. This from her parents:
Her parents claimed last night that she was being held hostage in Gaddafi’s compound in Bab Al-Aziziya.
Miss Al-Obeidi’s mother and father were interviewed on Al-Jazeera after the regime claimed their daughter had been freed.
They said officials had demanded they instruct her to retract the allegations in return for her freedom and financial reward for the family.
‘I told my daughter to say nothing,’ her mother said, fighting back tears.
Miss Al-Obeidi’s parents also denied a government claim that she was a prostitute and was, in fact, a lawyer. ‘I don’t feel ashamed, instead my head is up high,’ she added.
Normally rape victims are given automatic anonymity unless they volunteer to be named. The mother said her daughter had ‘broken the barrier that no other man could break’ by coming forward to talk about her rape.
Wearing an opposition flag around her shoulders she said Miss Al-Obeidi is ‘a hostage, taken by the tyrants’ and asked for help from the youth of Tripoli.
Libyan women, mostly from the city of Benghazi, have been in the streets in protest of this all-too-familiar story of the brutal treatment of women in Muslim countries.
Iman said she was targeted because of connections in the rebel city of Benghazi. From the original report:
Before she was bundled out into a car, al-Obeidi said with tears streaming down her face: ‘They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up.
‘They violated my honour. Look at what the Gaddafi militiamen did to me.
Libyan women, mostly from Benghazi took to the streets in protest of this all-too-familiar treatment of women in Muslim countries. See the entire story of the press conference and Iman al-Obeidi’s dramatic appeal for help. My original story here.
Iman al-Obeidi Claims Rape by Gaddafi Troops – Is Led Away to Where? (video)