Monday, March 28, 2011

Libya 'rape victim' offered hush money

The family of a Libyan woman who claims she was tortured and raped by government security forces says she has been offered cash and even a new house to buy her silence.

Twenty-six-year-old Tobruk lawyer Iman al-Obeidi was filmed being roughed up by government agents after she burst into a hotel where foreign journalists were staying to draw attention to her ill-treatment.

She stormed into Tripoli's Rixos hotel at breakfast time on Sunday and threw open her coat to reveal scars and bruises on her body.

As she screamed "Film me, film me, show the whole world all they did to me" she was dragged off by security guards amid scenes of mayhe as all journalists' attempts to intervene were shoved aside.

She told of being stopped at a Tripoli checkpoint because she was from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
A Ministry of Information official, left, trying to grab Iman Al-Obeidi, who said she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Libya and was sexually assaulted by up to 15 men while in custody

"They tied me up and abused me for two days," she said.

The woman was bundled into a car before she could answer journalists' questions.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said she was taken to hospital for checks on her mental health.

But on Monday morning, the government appeared to backtrack on that remark, saying she had been released.

"It's a criminal case against four individuals. She is with her family. It's an honour-related case," Ibrahim said.

The woman's family has told ABC they received a 3am phone call from the security forces offering their daughter cash if she would change her story.

The family says Obeidi's sister had also been arrested and is under pressure to get her sister to recant.

Government officials in the capital first said Obeidi was either drunk or mentally ill. Later, another official suggested she was a prostitute. - Source: ABC

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