Story of woman accusing Gadhafi soldiers of rape takes many turns
Emam al-Obeidy says she saw one of the men who attacked her in the street recently.
April 12th, 2011
11:22 AM ET

Story of woman accusing Gadhafi soldiers of rape takes many turns

Eman al-Obeidy was introduced to audiences worldwide in late March when she burst into a Tripoli hotel, screaming to international journalists staying there that she had been held against her will for two days and raped by soldiers working for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Since then, she has become a voice of a movement against Gadhafi's four-decade rule as his opponents continue to battle his supporters in a bloody civil war. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds from around the world have continually paid tribute to al-Obeidy and made her a rallying cry for revolution. Her story has also prompted worldwide discussion about rape as a weapon of war.

CNN has constantly covered developments in her story, which has taken many turns in the past few weeks. After she was dragged away from the hotel, Libyan officials promised that al-Obeidy would be treated at a hospital and released, but her family members said they had not heard from her. Her mother vowed to stand behind her, and a concerned cousin told CNN shortly after the hotel incident that al-Obeidy hailed from an opposition stronghold. The cousin said that on the video, al-Obeidy didn't "look like herself" and that she was afraid of what Gadhafi's people would do to her.

Though the Libyan government asked CNN not to talk to al-Obeidy, correspondent Nic Robertson was able to sit down with her April 7 for her first on-air interview. She described being kidnapped by drunken men, taken to a residence, tortured, raped, beaten and tied up. She said the men sodomized her with their weapons and poured alcohol into her eyes. Instead of being horrified that this happened, many Libyans criticized her for shaming herself by showing her bruised wrists and legs to the journalists at the hotel. Al-Obeidy was undeterred. "Let the world know what's happening" in Libya, she told Robertson.

This week, al-Obeidy told Anderson Cooper that she fears for her life and has not been allowed, as Gadhafi's son promised her, to leave Tripoli and return to her home in the east. Prosecutors who are supposed to help her are refusing to talk with her, she said. She even saw one of her attackers on the street last week during a rare occasion when she had the courage to go outside. "He was not scared, meaning he knows he will not be detained," she told Cooper.

At that moment, she said, she felt overwhelmed. "There was pain and fear because he was circling ... meaning he could confront me at any moment and kill me."

The man is a relative of a public official in Gadhafi's circle, she said. "They are in a war, so they need all the members of the family to be united."

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Filed under: Libya • War
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. demand destruction

    Do not be fooled. The stock market swoon has nothing to do with alcoa results or overextended positions of commodities traders.
    The realization that money printed by FED for benefit of rich may end soon, is taking a toll on equities.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dim Mak

    I think all ra-pi-sts should be turned into trannys with fake hoots and put into general prison population.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. American Idiot

    This may be an insensitive comment, but she'd be quite cute if she wasn't scowling so much.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • beachrat

      I must say, your handle is quite appropriate, and yes it is very insensitive, just wondering how you would look if you had gone through what this brave woman has.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    You're right, American, it's insensitive. You'd probably scowl a bit too, if you had endured what she had to endure, and is continuing to endure.

    May peace be with that poor woman, and may she continue to find the strength to carry on.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. beachrat

    Along with the young vendor in Tunisia who started all of this, she is the face or freedom for the arab world. May God/Allah be with her always and keep her well.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Raype should be punishible by death. Any witnesses who fail to do what they can to help the victim...10 yrs. hard labor. That would reduce the frequency a tad.

    April 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    Raype by military , including corporate soldiers...firing squad. Victim's family get's to be the ones to give the order to "FIRE". any witnesses who failed to aid the victim, even if it meant not following orders: war crimes tribunal...min. 10 yrs. hard labor. That should reduce the frequency a tad.

    April 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. really?

    Wow, she endured the same treatments as those in Gizmo or at least, some public high schools. Goodness, I miss them days. My butt feels better these days. Thanks for asking.

    April 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mary Banerian

    Eman al-Obeidy will not be forgotten by the many free people who watch CNN. Once on the Internet, she will not disappear. Qaddfi's regime cannot erase her.

    April 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TOMAS

    Third world war in the making.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • LADYDI


      April 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      It's been here since we invaded Iraq... 2 electric boogaloo. Now class, can you count the countries involved?

      May 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ed Bailey

    Smart and very. Brave woman! She should be libya's leader!

    April 13, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Carmen DA

    Please tell Eman that she will not be forgotten. Tell her that women from different paths are praying for her safe release and that she is a hero for womankind.

    April 14, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      we men are also rooting for her.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. vava

    What has happened to the Eman al-Obeidy? Has she left Tripoli? Please, please let us not forget her or she will disapear.

    April 20, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      have tried to find info on net about her. hope shes alright.

      April 21, 2011 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. joe

    where's Eman???

    April 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Allan

    Please, keep Emam al-Obeidy safe, secured and out of harms way. Also keep the world updated as to her progress and how she is going on. The world need these women of courage.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |