Nicosia: A petition demanding the release
of a young Libyan women who stormed into a Tripoli hotel full
of journalists and accused government soldiers of raping her
was well on the way to reaching its target of half a million
signatures on Saturday.
The woman, Iman al-Obeidi, achieved worldwide
celebrity after footage of her bursting into the Rixos hotel
at breakfast time last Saturday and throwing open her coat to
reveal scars and bruises on her body, was posted on the
"Words cannot express the courage Iman showed in
speaking out -- and we can only imagine the terror she must be
facing right now in the hands of (Moamer) Kadhafi`s infamous
thugs," said Avaaz.org, organiser of the online campaign.
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 mayhem while foreign journalists who
tried to intervene were shoved aside.
"They tied me up and abused me for two days," she said
of regime troops manning a Tripoli checkpoint adding they
targetted her because she came from the rebel-stronghold of
Benghazi, where the insurgency against Kadhafi erupted.
The petition, which had garnered the support of some
437,500 people by today afternoon, will be delivered by hand
to the Turkish consulate in Benghazi as soon as it reaches its
target of 500,000 signatures.
It is addressed to the Turkish government because
"Kadhafi will ignore most international outrage, but he
listened to the Turkish government when they asked him to
release foreign journalists."
Facebook groups in support of Obeidi have mushroomed
Government spokesman Musa Ibrahim had said the
investigation was continuing as some of the troops lodged a
complaint for defamation and because "she has refused to
undergo medical examination" to prove she had been raped.