The foreign press corps in Libya found themselves characters in the news they cover, this weekend, when a woman burst into their hotel to share the story of her rape.

Saturday, as journalists gathered in the hotel’s dining room in the Rixos hotel, Iman al-Obeidi rushed and began telling the press that she had suffered abuse and sexual assault by members of Gadhafi forces.

According to al-Obeidi, she was detained by a number of troops who “were drinking whiskey” and holding several other civilians. She had scratches on her face and bloodied and bruised thigh.

“They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up,” she said, her face streaming with tears. “They violated my honour, look at what the Gadhafi militiamen did to me.”


Several video teams that had gathered to hear al-Obeidi’s story were able to capture the dramatic scene that ensued when Gadhafi loyalists, both military and the restaurant staff grabbed her in an attempt to silence her. The brawl ended with al-Obeidi being dragged away with a coat thrown across her face.

Today, the Libyan government announced that al-Obeidi had been released to her family and that four men- police and the son of a high-profile military member had been questioned in connection with her allegations.

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  • Harold

    Terrible as any rape, what international coverage did that young teenage girl who was held as a sex slave and pimped out to anyone paying 50 dollars at Abu Ghraib. Nobody went to jail for that. The girl eventually committed suicide. International press? International condemnation? International Criminal Court (what a joke)?

  • Alexandra

    I hope this woman gets the justice she deserves, if her claim is true.
    I think rape is one of the most horrible acts of violence. And they’re throwing dirt at her name claiming she’s a prostitute. Its horrible enough to go through a rape, and even worse when people don’t believe you.