Alleged Libya rape victim charged over claim
TRIPOLI, Libya - A Libyan government spokesman says the woman who burst into a hotel to tell foreign journalists how she was gang raped by Muammar Qaddafi's troops will face criminal charges.
Moussa Ibrahim said on Tuesday the men accused by Iman al-Obeidi have filed a case against her, calling her accusations a "grave offense."
Iman al-Obeidi made headlines when she rushed distraught into a Tripoli hotel on Saturday, seeking to tell foreign reporters about her rape. She was tackled by waitresses and government minders and dragged away from the site in an ensuing melee.
In interviews broadcast Monday on satellite Al-Jazeera Television, al-Obeidi's parents said their daughter was being held by Qaddafi's forces at a government compound in Tripoli, countering government claims that she had been set free. (Watch interview clip below).
Later Monday, Amnesty International called on Qaddafi's regime to release the woman. The human rights group called the woman's account "stomach-churning" and called on authorities to launch "an independent and impartial investigation."
Al-Obeidi had told foreign media on Saturday that she was detained by a number of Qaddafi troops at a Tripoli checkpoint on Wednesday. She said they were drinking whiskey and handcuffed her. She said 15 men later raped her. Al-Obeidi's claims could not be independently verified, but she showed the media wounds she said she suffered at their hands.
Stunned reporters watched as al-Obeidi was quickly tackled by government minders, waitresses waving knives, and other hotel staff. Journalists who tried to protect her were beaten.
Al-Obeidi was dragged out of the hotel and driven away. CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips, who witnessed the scene, wrote that some reporters who tried recording the melee had their cameras smashed.
Libyan authorities have alternately labeled al-Obeidi a drunk, a prostitute and a thief.
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