Saturday 16 November 2019

Woman dragged from hotel after rape claims

A distraught Libyan woman stormed into a Tripoli hotel yesterday to tell foreign reporters that government troops raped her, setting off a brawl when hotel staff and government minders tried to detain her.

The woman was tackled by waitresses and government minders as she sat telling her story to journalists after she rushed into the restaurant at the Rixos hotel, where a number of foreign journalists were eating breakfast.

She claimed that troops had detained her at a checkpoint, tied her up, abused her, then led her away to be gang raped.

Her story could not be independently verified, but the dramatic scene provided a rare, first-hand glimpse of the brutal crackdown on public dissent by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime as the Libyan leader fights a rebellion against his rule that began last month.Before she was dragged out of the hotel, Ms al-Obeidi managed to tell journalists that she was detained by a number of troops. She said a number of others were still being held.

She said she was detained on Wednesday but didn't say how she escaped yesterday morning. She said she had been raped by 15 men.

"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 Gaddafi militiamen did to me."

The woman, who appeared to be in her thirties, wore a black robe and an orange scarf around her neck. She had scratches on her face and she pulled up her black robe to reveal a bloodied thigh. "As soon as I leave here they will take me right to jail," she yelled at the journalists.

As she spoke, a hotel waitress brandished a butter knife and called her a traitor while another waitress covered Ms al-Obeidi's head with a coat to keep her from talking.

Sunday Independent

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