‘Rape accusation woman charged with defamation’

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 15:02

Tripoli: A woman who stormed into a
Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists were staying and accused Libyan soldiers of raping her will be charged with defamation, although inquiries are continuing, a government official spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

"Accusing someone of a sex crime in a conservative
society like ours is a very serious matter," government
spokesman Musa Ibrahim said. "She gave the names of the
people she accused of raping her and they have lodged a
complaint for diffamation and calumny against her.

He said the affair was "still under investigation" and
insisted that the woman, Iman al-Obeidi, was still at liberty
"awaiting the outcome of the inquiries".

Al-Obeidi achieved worldwide celebrity after footage
of her storming into the Rixos hotel at breakfast time on
Saturday and throwing open her coat to reveal scars and
bruises on her body, was posted on the Internet.

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 journalists who tried to
intervene were shoved aside.
She told of being stopped at a Tripoli checkpoint
because she was from the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi. "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, and later Ibrahim said she was
taken to hospital for checks on her mental health.

"According to our information she was drunk," he said
at the time. "We are trying to find out who she is, who her
family is and whether she was really ill-treated or if it was
all just fantasy."

He added that the woman`s "physical safety" would be
She was later released and yesterday Ibrahim told AFP:

"The girl has been freed but the prosecution is still
questioning her to determine the circumstances (of her claim).
It is a criminal affair, not political."

According to Ibrahim the investigation was continuing
as some of the troops had lodged a complaint for defamation
and because "she has refused to undergo medical examination"
to prove she had been raped.

Amnesty International urged Libyan authorities to
carry out a thorough investigation into Obeidi`s claims.

"Iman al-Obeidi`s allegations are stomach-churning,"
said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty`s Middle East and North Africa


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First Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 15:02

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