International

Woman Who Accused Gadhafi Supporters Of Rape Now In Tunisia

The young Libyan woman who recounted a graphic and harrowing ordeal of rape and torture has now escaped across the Libyan border to Tunisia, according to CNN. Iman al-Obeidi, the woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel in April where foreign journalists were staying to recount her story, got help from two defecting Libyan military officers to make her escape. She wore an enveloping headscarf to disguise her appearance as she passed military checkpoints, revealing just a single eye.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro interviewed al-Obeidi last month without government 'minders'. Although al-Obeidi's story of a sustained and violent sexual assault by many men over several days cannot be verified by NPR, Lourdes reported 'the marks on her body from her ordeal are still visible'.

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, on Iman al-Obeidi

Al-Obeidi told NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi-Nelson she was also beaten after her escape, once so badly she remained in bed. After her story came to light, the Gadhafi government further charged her with slandering the men she named as her rapists. As Mark wrote, Gadhafi officials distributed a video they claimed was al-Obeidi dancing suggestively, but the woman in the video has different physical characteristics.

CNN's Nic Robertson says al-Obeidi is now receiving help from foreign diplomats and was taken in by the French embassy in Tunis and French President Nicholas Sarkozy has taken an interest in her case. Al-Obeidi has not revealed what her next steps are.

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